Amazon brings more privacy, smart home controls to new Echo Show 5

The device is equipped with a physical camera shutter -- a first for any of Amazon's display speakers.


Amazon unveiled the latest iteration of its Echo Show device on Wednesday along with more privacy and smart home controls built into its digital assistant ecosystem. The $89.99 Echo Show 5 is more compact and less expensive than its predecessors and pitched as a privacy-oriented smart display for every room in the house. 

The device is equipped with a camera shutter -- a first for any of Amazon's display speakers -- that physically covers the camera while still letting users talk to the device. There are also new, simplified ways to delete voice recordings and a new privacy hub webpage that explains how Echo devices use and store voice recordings. 

Previously, Alexa users had to log in to Amazon or use the Alexa app to access and delete their log of voice recordings. Now, users can just say, "Alexa, delete everything I said today," and Amazon will clear all of the audio requests made on that day. The company said it will soon let users delete their last request by saying, "Alexa, delete what I just said."

It's worth pointing out, however, that users must opt-in to the privacy deletion feature. It's somewhat buried in the menus of the Alexa app and Amazon's website.

ALSO: Alexa Skills: A guide for business pros (free PDF)

Nonetheless, Amazon's new privacy efforts come after it was criticized for retaining voice recordings and corresponding text transcripts of the various requests Alexa users make to the assistant. The tech giant has said that it stores the voice data for machine-learnings purposes. 

As for the smart home updates, Amazon is rolling out a new smart home dashboard that aims to provide users more control over compatible smart home devices and groups. For instance, on-screen controls are now available to interact with connected smart home devices, and users can also view smart home camera feeds and thermostats, access recently used devices, and manage smart devices by group.

The Echo Show 5 and an add-on adjustable magnetic stand are available for pre-order today and will ship in June.


Disclosure: ZDNet may earn a commission from some of the products featured on this page.