Speculation has been ramping up about the prospects of a new Alexa-powered smart home camera from Amazon, and today, the online mega-retailer made it official. It's called the Amazon Echo Look, and it's a $200 Wi-Fi camera that offers full Alexa functionality plus hands-free photo and video.
What's interesting here is how Amazon's pitching it. Competing smart home cameras from names like Canary and Nest are all about home security, but Amazon's tacking in a different direction and pitching this camera as a cloud-connected fashion consultant. The idea is that you'll tell Alexa to snap pictures of yourself in various outfits. Alexa's software will automatically blur the background in each image to help you see which outfit pops, and from there, Amazon will use machine learning guided by fashion experts to recommend what to wear. Amazon calls the feature "Style Check," and you can see it in action for yourself in Amazon's style-centric announcement video:
In addition to the fashion advice, Amazon tells us that you'll be able to use Alexa like you would in any other Alexa-enabled device, including music, traffic timers, and weather, as well as access to her growing library of third-party "skills."
Live now, the Echo Look's product page points out that the camera is wall-mountable, and that it includes a built-in microphone, speaker and LED lights used for the camera's flash. Amazon tells us that the Echo Look uses a 5-megapixel sensor, which might give it a slight edge in picture quality over the 3-megapixel Nest Cam. However, unlike the Nest Cam, the Echo Look isn't night-vision capable.
There's no date set for when the Echo Look will start shipping to customers. For now, all Amazon is telling us is that the Echo Look will be available to customers in the US only on a rolling invite system, with invites slated to start going out in "the coming weeks."
That's similar to how the Amazon Echo smart speaker was first rolled out back in 2014. Demand was overwhelming back then -- a trend that continued with both generations of the pint-size Amazon Echo Dot, but not so much with the battery-powered Amazon Tap.
Time will tell which camp the Echo Look falls into, but if you think you might want one, it'd probably be a good idea to hurry up and request an invitation to purchase.