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AI / Alexa / Amazon

First Look: Amazon Dash Wand 2.0

The Dash Wand isn’t new, but Amazon just released an updated version that integrates Alexa voice commands. I’ve had this in my hands for less than a day and am pretty impressed with much of it. Amazon’s announcement today about its acquisition of Whole Foods, actually makes the Dash Wand a much more interesting gadget than just a day ago. With the acquisition, Amazon can deliver its AmazonFresh service almost immediately to most locations in the U.S., Canada, and UK.

As you know (and have read here on this web site), I have a multitude of Alexa devices strewn across the house, providing her services to each family member for home automation, games, weather, calendar, email, music, TV, etc., etc. So because of my familiarity with Alexa I am more interested in what the Dash Wand can’t do and what it offers that the other Alexa devices don’t.

Setup for the device is easy. Once you unpack it and insert the batteries, you open your browser on your smartphone and go to: https://www.amazon.com/wandsetup. You can also open this URL in a desktop browser, but once you choose to start setup (for either US or UK) it opens the Alexa mobile app (hence, why it asks you to open the URL on your smartphone). The other reason it wants you to use your smartphone is that it gets the local WiFi connection information (network/password) from your connected mobile phone.

After setup, I set about testing the scanner. Scanning is quick and easy. You point the scanner directly at a product bar code, tap the Alexa button and hear an acknowledgement tone, and then you’ll get another feedback tone when the scan was successful. You can then open the Amazon shopping app on your smartphone to see the item automatically added to your cart. Items are ordered automatically, you still have to approve them. This allows multiple family members to scan requested grocery items throughout the week and then a final approval is required before they are shipped to your door.

The Dash Wand works just like one of the Amazon Fire TV remote controls. To initiate commands, you tap and old the Alexa button and then speak your requests. This way you don’t have to start each command with “Alexa,” you just start speaking after the button pressed he tone is heard. And, to be honest, I think Amazon should’ve just added a bar code scanner to its current Alexa Voice Remote and released an updated version of that. Still, having the ability to voice order items is cool…but any Alexa device can do that.

So, what does the Dash Wand NOT do? That’s probably the biggest question for those already familiar with Alexa devices. Beyond the bar code scanner, there’s not much else here, other than it being a mobile unit (but so is the Tap). And, quite honestly, the mobility could become a problem. With numerous family members using it, it could be just like any other remote control and get misplaced in the strangest places.

The Dash Wand does not play music. It does not stream podcasts. It does not do flash briefings. No skills. Amazon Dash Wand cannot be used to purchase Kindle content, Amazon Music, Amazon Video titles, apps from Amazon Appstore, or other digital content.

What the Dash Wand does support is the following…

Local Search (including restaurants)
Movie Showtimes
Some basic games
Traffic
Information retrieval (example: “who played in the movie Wonder Woman”)
Weather
Calendar
Recipes
Smart Home
IFTTT

You can snag the Dash Wand here: Amazon Dash Wand With Alexa

Features

  • Groceries have never been easier. All new Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa helps you find recipes, convert cups to ounces, buy and reorder essentials, find nearby restaurants and more.
  • Purchase Dash Wand for $20 and get $20 off your next purchase after you register the device.
  • Try AmazonFresh free for 90 days (normally $14.99 per month)
  • Say it or scan a barcode. It’s added to your shopping cart. Just say “paper towels.”
  • Water-resistant, durable design, and magnetic so you can stick it on your fridge.

 

Photos

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A community professional, keynoter, and evangelist who has driven social media and marketing strategies, editorial successes, delivered customer successes and built some of the largest and longest-running online communities. Rod has created, managed and grown small, medium, and mega-sized conferences; run entire editorial teams to deliver record traffic and market leadership; as product manager, directed the success of hundreds of product releases; supported sales and marketing to ensure customer success; developed, run and sold businesses; written thousands of technical articles, white papers, case studies, and technical documentation; hosted and delivered hundreds of attendance shattering webinars and virtual tradeshows; and delivered keynote speeches and sessions at a wide variety of events including conferences, webinars, events, and user groups.

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