Amazon on Wednesday introduced a new Alexa-compatible appliance, the Echo Glow light, at its annual product event in Seattle. Users can cycle through colors with a tap, set a sleep timer, start a dance party or get a digital campfire light going. It’s expected to cost $30 and is available for preorder Wednesday.
Amazon said the Echo Glow is a new way for children to interact with the smart home, such as by turning lights on and off.
The Echo Glow joins several new features aimed at families. Amazon added a new Alexa Educational Skills API designed to help parents stay involved with older children at school. The new API can connect you to programs your child’s school might use, like Canvas, Kickboard and Coursera.
According to Amazon, once the API is connected, parents can ask Alexa, “What homework does Chris have tonight?” or “How did Sam do on the math test yesterday?” Alexa will provide a response. High school and college level students can use the Alexa Educational Skills API to keep tabs on assignments, deadlines and more.
Alexa users will be able to ask the digital assistant for a flickering campfire light for kids, a sleep timer that will gradually dim the light at bedtime, and the dance party mode that kicks off music and lights. The Echo Glow will also cycle through rainbow colors.
The company is also bringing a new FreeTime experience for kids on the new Echo Show 8. The new FreeTime includes kid-friendly educational content and more parental controls, along with the ability to watch videos, make video calls and add stickers to photos. Any and all contacts must be approved by the parent and contact before any call can be made. In addition, there’s a sing-along feature that pops the music lyrics onto the screen.
The company also added Alexa Communications for Kids to help address privacy concerns after children’s advocates called on the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Echo Dot Kids Edition in May. Shortly after, Amazon faced two lawsuits that alleged the company failed to get children’s consent when it recorded them using its voice assistant.