NEWS

Amazon Launches the Dash Wand

July 3, 2017

Amazon has reigned supreme in the home automation world in the last few years, but in recent months their competitors have chipped away at their lead. For example, Apple just announced its answer to the Echo a few weeks ago in the form of the HomePod. There is also the Echo’s identical twin the Harman Kardon smart speaker.

Amazon’s Answer to Competition

To keep the competition at bay, Amazon has churned out product after product almost every month. They launched the Echo Look, the Echo Show, and increased the number of third-party devices and apps in their ecosystem. Now they are releasing a super cheap product that they call the Dash Wand.

It is a new version of a handheld bar code scanner that Amazon first launched in 2014 to allow users to scan products at home to add them to their online Amazon shopping cart. For example, if you were getting low on peanut butter all you had to do was scan the almost empty peanut butter jar, and it would be added automatically to your online shopping cart.

At the modest price of $20, the new Dash Wand comes with built-in Alexa personal assistant. The new Dash Wand offers the easily accessible Dash button, the versatile Dash scanner, and the smart and convenient Alexa personal assistant. Earlier versions of the Wand also had voice control but did not feature Alexa access because Alexa was not available. Now you can ask your Dash Wand for recipes, nutritional information, and add items like groceries including fresh produce to your cart using your voice.

Once you are ready to buy the items you scanned or added to the cart through voice commands, you can ask the Dash Wand to check out. You no longer need to log onto a computer like you had to with the old version of the Dash Wand. Foodies can also ask the device to look up restaurants hands-free.

Design

The Wi-Fi-enabled Dash Wand features a magnet on the back that allows you to stick it on your fridge. It also has a rubber loop at the top if you want to hang it somewhere instead. The Dash Wand has a simple yet eye-catching design. Unlike earlier versions of Dash products, the new Wand is made of black and white plastic.

It runs on two AAA batteries included in the box. Because of this, it does not have a wake word. You have to press a button to activate the device and to say your command. Of course, you have the option of buying rechargeable AAA batteries if you are not a fan of disposable ones.

Limitations

Since it is also a functioning Alexa device, you can also use it to do things like turning on the light. It can also answer questions like the Echo but remember it is not a fully functioning Alexa speaker. For instance, you cannot stream music with it and cannot ask Alexa to set a timer or set reminders.

Additionally, you cannot use it to send text messages or for calling. Another limitation is that people who live in areas not served by Amazon Fresh cannot buy produce and other perishables using the Wand. Places served with Amazon Fresh include New York, Seattle, Northern and Southern California, and Philadelphia. Check with Amazon to see if Fresh services your area.

Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service that allows users to order fresh produce and other groceries. Judging from their acquisition of the produce giant, Whole Foods, Amazon is determined to dominate the online grocery purchase market. For more information about Amazon smart devices and home automation, please visit our website today.

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