Amazon appears to be rebooting the Dash Wand, a product first offered with the Dash Button replenishment program, by integrating the barcode scanning device with its Alexa virtual assistant.
The Dash Wand is available to Prime members for $20, which also includes a 90-day free trial of the AmazonFresh grocery delivery and pick-up service. Dash Wand owners also get the purchase price back in the form of a $20 rebate on their first order using the Dash Wand.
Separately, appliance makers Bosch and Kenmore (the former already a partner in the Amazon Dash Button program) are planning to manufacture appliances with Alexa integrated, according to Twice.
The Dash Wand never really went away, as far as we know. As recently as last fall, Amazon sought to enhance its utility by expanding the range of product that could be re-ordered using the Wand. Back then, it also had a voice recognition element.
So, what's different? The Alexa integration adds a new dimension for sure, as you can now ask Alexa to add items to a list or buy them, which at this point might be the more natural way to have a voice interaction with a device. Amazon has been bent on getting Alexa into as many devices as possible, so this move to add it to the Dash Wand — as well as the new partnerships with Bosch and Kenmore — does not rate as a surprise.
Another big change is the price, which was cut from $50 last fall to $20 — essentially free, assuming you actually use the thing and qualify for the rebate.
Will this allow the Dash Wand to emerge from the shadow of the increasingly popular Dash Button, which Amazon has seemed more committed to? That may not be the point as the Dash Wand still is not as unique as Amazon's biggest hit devices like the Echo.
Amazon may just be intent on creating some device variety. By tying the Dash Wand to Amazon Fresh, another of its offerings operating in the shadow of program getting much more attention (Amazon Go), it's seeing if, with a little help from Alexa, it can wave a magic wand to generate a few more sales.