Amazon has re-launched its Dash Wand with a major new feature: Alexa, the company’s voice-controlled AI assistant.
About the size and shape of a small TV remote, the device is basically a stick used for making product orders. Like the original Dash device trialed back in 2014, it features a barcode scanner to let users retrieve information about various products, but it now also features Alexa as a primary user interface, with the AI assistant able to not only place product orders, but provide information like recipes and restaurant suggestions.
A similar system was trialed by Amazon in the UK last summer, and the company is now evidently seeking to use the more sophisticated tool to popularize its streamlined ordering services, with Amazon Prime subscribers able to get a $20 credit to their accounts when they purchase the $20 device, plus a $90 free trial of its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service.
But the Dash Wand could also help to familiarize many more end users with Alexa, and further cement its presence in the emerging smart home market. Alexa, after all, has a range of skills beyond the domain of shopping, and users who try out the relatively inexpensive device might get used to having the assistant handy around the house to do things like activate connected lights or provide a weather update.