We got our own first Verizon smart display last month thanks to an FCC application. Yesterday, Amazon confirmed the existence of the device as part of their Alexa Live presentation. It will be introduced as part of the Alexa Custom Assistant program, which allows third-party hardware manufacturers to add custom assistants built on Alexa technology to their products, and unfortunately we inform you that it looks as useless as we suspected.
Here’s what it offers: standard smart screens like an eight-inch screen, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and of course Alexa. It also comes with LTE, a specification included in FCC archiving and confirmed CNET after notification. But 4G seems to be limited to providing a connection during Verizon home Internet installation or troubleshooting. Amazon says this reduces the need to “send service technicians to the customer’s house or ask the customer to call the Verizon Call Center for help.” So it’s a kind of narrow use.
There are also Verizon service-specific commands that can be accessed by saying “Hello, Verizon,” such as checking your bill or taking a speed test. You know what you can easily do with your phone or computer. You can ask Verizon smart Assistant-type questions like the current weather, but based on a promotional video released by Amazon, it looks like Verizon … is just asking Alexa for you. Hmm.
If you’ve been thinking to yourself, “In fact, wouldn’t it be great if I had a way to check my phone bill in hands-free mode when I eat a sandwich in the kitchen?” then maybe you just found your match. Otherwise, this doesn’t look exactly like the smartest smart screens.
Verizon has not yet disclosed the price or release date of the company; CNET reports that the display will be available later this year in a limited beta test with Verizon home Internet customers.