What’s old is now new again as Amazon brings Alexa Conversation Mode to the second generation Echo Show 8 smart displays.
If chat mode sounds familiar, it’s because it first appeared on the third generation of Echo Show 10 smart displays in December 2021 And by all accounts, this feature version (opens in a new tab) it is identical to the older one. Amazon is essentially making this emerging technology available to its users. What it does allows you to give Alex commands without having to constantly say the wake word. The result is more natural-sounding conversations with Alexa.
How it’s working
To activate the mode, you first say the wake-up word for your device (default is “Alexa”) and then you can say “turn on talk mode” or “join the call”. Now everyone in the room can give Echo Show 8 commands by simply talking to it, such as telling it to add items to your shopping list. And you’ll know the mode has been activated if you see a solid blue frame around the Show 8 screen.
As announced, images and videos will not be recorded or sent to Amazon’s cloud. The only thing saved is direct requests, which can be deleted by going to the Voice History Overview under Alexa privacy settings (opens in a new tab).
For Conversation Mode to work, the Echo Show 8 cannot be muted, you must be in the Echo Show 8’s camera view and must be staring at it when giving it commands. It’ll be a bit more difficult to do this on the Echo Show 8. The Echo Show 10’s screen can pivot as it follows you around the room so it can listen to you closely all the time. Contrary to this, Show 8 is more of a static device as it is just sitting on the counter.
You may have to rotate it manually in order for the program’s camera to see you. But with this stiffer design, it’s affordable as the Echo Show 8 is cheaper ($ 129.99) than the Show 10 ($ 249.99).
Unfortunately, the Echo Show 8’s Conversation Mode version seems to be equally limited in terms of language support. According Amazon Customer Support (opens in a new tab), the feature is only available in English and it is not known if it will support other languages. The availability of this feature worldwide is also unclear. Conversation mode on the Echo Show 10 is only available to the United States at the time of this writing. By this logic, if Show 8 only supports English, it’s entirely possible that the new mode is stuck in the US.
We contacted Amazon to ask if there were any plans to extend the Talk Mode beyond the US and if there were any new software changes not mentioned in the announcement. This story will be updated if we get a reply.
You may also be interested in the information that Amazon carries out pre-Black Friday Sale from 11 to 12 October. Amazon has promised Alexa-enabled devices will have “extra savings” these days.
We can’t help but feel that it’s more than a coincidence that the Echo Show 8 received Talk Mode a few weeks before the event. It could be part of a new product impulse. If you’re in the Amazon device market ahead of the big event, be sure to check out the reach of the new TechRadar Amazon Fire 8 line of tablets.