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Best skills and apps for Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot

We explain how to add them and which are the top visual skills

The best apps for Echo Show and Spot
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If you’ve got your hands on the Amazon Echo Show, the new Amazon Echo Show 5 or the ageing Amazon Echo Spot, there's no doubt you’ll be keen to download some apps that make use of the screen. These visual skills offer a heap of new possibilities on paper - ones that screen-less Amazon Echo speakers can't.

However, you’d also be forgiven for wondering exactly what skills work with an Echo display, and how to download Echo Show skills. Amazon is quite cryptic about which skills are designed for its screened devices, after all.

Essential reading: Complete guide to Amazon Alexa

That's why we’ve pulled together this specific list of the best Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot skills that make use of the screen. Be warned, though - the quality of these apps is progressing very slowly, and even the good ones can be terribly buggy.

How to add skills to Echo Show

How to add apps and skills to Echo Show

There's actually a few ways to add skills to your Echo Show (or Echo Spot) - and this doesn't actually differ too much from how you would install them on a regular Alexa speaker.

1. Ask Alexa

The easiest way to add skills to your screened Echo device is to simply say, "Alexa, enable [skill name].Or, if you want to remove a skill, just say, "Alexa, disable [skill name]".

If you're not sure which skills to add - even after reading our comprehensive list below - you can ask for some: "Alexa, recommend me some skills". You can also do this for different categories of skills, such as news, smart home and games.

2. Use the Alexa app

Another way to add skills is through the Alexa app on your iOS or Android device.

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Tap the icon in the top-left corner.
  • Tap Skills and Games.
  • Find a skill you want to add to your collection.
  • On the skill's description page, you'll see the option to Enable to use - tap it.

3. Use the Amazon website

The least accessible way to download Alexa skills is through the Amazon site itself.

  • Open Amazon in your web browser.
  • Go to Shop by Department > Echo & Alexa > Alexa Skills.
  • On the right-hand side, there's an option to Enable - tap it.

Best Alexa apps and skills for Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot

Best skills and apps for Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot

Skype

While you can chat to contacts using Alexa Calling, the Skype skill was a serious boon for the Alexa platform. You can now video call contacts, and with the power of an Echo Show or Echo Spot with a quick “Alexa, call Mom on Skype.”

Amazon Prime Video

You can watch TV shows and movies from Amazon Prime Video on your Amazon Echo Show and Spot (yes, on the 480 x 480 screen), provided you have a Prime account. To watch shows such as The Grand Tour and Bosch (surprisingly not a show about dishwashers) just say, “Alexa, play [name of show] on Amazon Prime Video.

Dailymotion / Vimeo

Video on the Amazon Echo has become a bit of a mess after a spat between Google and Amazon meant YouTube support was pulled from Alexa devices. Luckily, Dailymotion and Vimeo have stepped into the void, but there’s no official skill to be found.

“Alexa, play Cardi B music videos” will start a search for the video you want to watch, and you’ll get on-screen results made up of the two services. Good for music videos and funnies – but those with different tastes might be found wanting. This is a good stop gap until Vevo shows up.

WikiHow

Sometimes you just want to learn how to do something, and you want some good instructions for how to do it. Enter the WikiHow skill, which will give you video walkthroughs on how to do pretty much anything. All you have to do is say something like, "Alexa, ask WikiHow how to tie my shoes" and you're off to the races.

Nest

A real win for smart home fans, you can say “Alexa, show my front door” to have that security camera feed displayed on the Echo Show or Echo Spot’s screen – obviously replace "front door" with the name of your Nest Cam. This can turn your camera into a fantastic baby monitor, or just act as a seamless way of checking on what’s happening in different areas of the house.

Best skills and apps for Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot

Ring

Another top video smart home integration, you can ask “Alexa, show my Ring Doorbell” for a feed of what’s happening out-front. You don’t even have to wait for the chime – you can pull up the feed at any time. Some shortcomings, however, are that the feed won’t show automatically when Ring sounds, and there’s no two-way audio. Still useful for screening time-wasting callers, though.

Good Housekeeping

A bustling US-only skill with everything from recipes to advice on getting stains out of your soft furnishings, you can say things like, "Alexa, ask Good Housekeeping what I should make for dinner tonight." The screen helps with recipes, making it one of the better, well, housekeeping skills available.

National Rail (UK)

One of our favorite skills, the National Rail app will store your commute and give you a quick look at the next trains. It actually works fairly seamlessly - unless you go into London Bridge which completely flummoxes the voice set up. Heartily recommended, yet quite annoyingly buggy.

Twitch

The Amazon-owned gaming streaming service obviously has a visual Alexa skill, which will help you follow your favourite players. You can link your accounts from within Twitch to be notified when one of your followed players logs on.

Alternatively, you can ask “Alexa, ask Twitch who’s playing [insert game]” or “Alexa, ask Twitch to suggest an IRL channel” to start streaming.

Jeopardy!

Jeopardy!, the Alexa skill of the popular game show, is one of the best on the Echo – and it offers a little more for users of Echo Show and Echo Spot. Users will get clues on screen and see the questions, which makes it just a little easier to play than carefully listening to Alexa. To start, just say “Alexa, play Jeopardy”.

Best skills and apps for Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot

Food Network / Allrecipes / Recipedia

One of the most-used examples of why Alexa benefits from a screen is cooking – you can ask for a recipe and have it displayed in front of you.

To use any of the above services just ask, “Alexa, show me a recipe for [insert delicious dish]” and she’ll select one for you. If you’re particular about which service you like, you can say “Alexa, ask Allrecipes for a [insert food] recipe” and it’ll find one for you.

Reuters TV

The Flash Briefing has quickly become an essential piece of using Alexa daily, and Reuters TV is essential if you've got an Echo Spot or Show. That's because it's built out of video clips that will give you a great video briefing of the top news of the day. All you have to do to get started is say "Alexa, what's my Flash Briefing" Just make sure Reuters TV is set up to be a part of your flash briefing in the companion Alexa app.

MTV UK News

If you're looking for more pop culture news, this video news skill is a good choice to add to your Flash Briefings. You'll get the latest on music, fashion, YouTube stars and more. It's professional, slick, and you can just ask "Alexa, play my Flash Briefing" once it's installed.

Ambient Visuals

One of our favourite skills for normal Echos, the Ambient Visuals range offers relaxing vibes with some HD visuals as part of the package. You can choose from Rainfall, Space Shuttle and Lightning Storm skills, among others. Just say "Alexa play Ambient Visuals [name of effect]" to get started.

Logo Quiz

The popular app game, but now with voice; it's actually far better suited to Alexa than it is to the app. You can shout out the names of the logos, rather than battling to spell company names correctly, ask for hints (you get three per game) or just pass. The logos are shown on the screen of the Echo Show and Echo Spot.

Uber

Uber may not be everyone's favourite new-age taxi operation right now, but that doesn't mean the car-summoning process isn't a delight through the screen of the Echo Show. Giving you a similar graphic to what you'd experience on your smartphone (though none of the map and real-time car movement, annoyingly) the app pops up with the range of cars you can call to your house, as well as the estimated prices. It's not perfect, but it's a much nicer process than ordering a ride through the screen-less Echo clan.

Connect 4

Play against Alexa in a battle of wits, in which she's more than a match. The app (open with "Alexa, enable Connect 4") could be better, with serious repetition of the words "into which slot do you throw a disc" which sounds a little insane. However, the game works well, quickly and Alexa is no walkover. It's just a shame you can't play two-player locally, and chuck Alexa out of the equation.

Panda Rescue

The winner of the Amazon Developers best kids skill for Echo Show, Panda Rescue puts children in charge of the development of a cub. The skill is much the same on Echo Show as audio-only devices, but the screen adds pictures of the panda cub at different stages of development, which adds to the education aspect for kids.

Fandango

Not to be confused with Clem Fandango from the Toast of London, Fandango the app allows Echo users to quickly to tap in to movie trailers and even buy tickets through the smart device. Integrating with your Fandango account, it lets you ask for a movie or theatre location, where, from there, you can pick a time and pay for the tickets. Easy.

Fish tank for Echo Show

A moderately low res screensaver for Echo Show and Echo Spot devices, Fish Tank puts some hyperactive swimmers on your screen – with some annoying bubbly sounds that you can’t get rid of. Relaxing it is not, but will probably keep kids/cats entertained.


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