Amazon is adding a camera to its newest Echo smart speaker
Device still not available in Canada but adds camera functionality to earlier versions
The first versions of its voice activated Echo speakers still haven't been released in Canada, but technology giant Amazon is already unveiling a new model which includes a camera that can take pictures of its surroundings on command.
Earlier versions were essentially home speaker systems connected to the internet and powered by Alexa, Amazon's artificial intelligence sytem that allows the user to interact with the system through voice control.
But the Echo Look takes its predecessors one step further. It is available by invitation only for now, with a price tag of $200 US.
A promotional video for the product shows just how it works, as various men and women interact with the device while getting ready for their day.
"Using just your voice, easily take full-length photos and short videos with a hands-free camera that includes built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing camera, and computer vision-based background blur," Amazon said on the product's website.
The Echo Look also pitches something called Style Check, a service whereby the user can upload photos of their outfit taken with the camera and get fashion advice from experts.
"Submit two photos for a second opinion on which outfit looks best on you based on fit, color, styling, and current trends," Amazon says. "Over time, these decisions get smarter through your feedback and input from our team of experienced fashion specialists."
The Echo Look also comes with the full complement of other Alexa services, such as music streaming, control over smart home products such as connected light switches — and of course the ability to order products from Amazon.
When earlier versions were launched, it didn't take long for privacy concerns to emerge, given the devices essentially have the capacity to constantly record activity inside a house. In one high profile example, police demanded access to the information recorded by an Echo system that was present when police alleged a homicide occurred.