As with so many things ‘Alexa’ the Amazon Echo Buttons, at a mere $14 for two, are tantalizing close to greatness.
Initially introduced as a gaming accessory (meh), the Alexa platform was updated a few weeks ago to allow the buttons to trigger smart home routines. Awesome! Or so I thought. It turns out the initial implementation is merely a tease. In fact, the two rather simple scenarios I had envisioned are mostly out of reach.
I had hoped to link one of my two newly acquired Echo Buttons to an Amazon smart outlet so my daughter could easily turn on her playroom light. However, that’s exactly all it can do… as, without a toggle function, we’d need a second button to turn the light off. So she’s back to using her stool. At night, I was hoping to augment an existing bedtime routine (“Alexa, good night”) that performs a number of actions, including lowering my daughter’s Hue lighting and playing Disney Classic Lullabies. Yet, it turns out routines can only have a single trigger – so, in this case, it’s button or voice.
Beyond the missing toggles and dual assignment of triggers, future Echo Button enhancements I really, really hope the Alexa team considers are customization of button lighting and additional double tap or long press triggers to become a multifunction device. Also, improved reliability…