Amazon’s new Glow interactive children gadget follows within the footsteps of merchandise like Caribu and Osmo

Amazon's new Glow interactive kids device follows in the footsteps of products like Caribu and Osmo

Amazon’s Glow is a brand new video chatting gadget that enables youngsters to play video games and take part in actions with family members remotely. 


Amazon introduced a brand new gadget known as the Glow throughout its fall product launch occasion, a $250 video chatting gadget that enables youngsters to nearly work together with family members by taking part in video games and studying books collectively. Though the corporate has been promoting the Echo Dot Youngsters Version for years, it is uncommon for Amazon to develop a completely new gadget designed particularly for youngsters. 

Whereas it is new for Amazon, the final idea behind Glow would possibly sound acquainted — particularly if you happen to’ve ever used the storytelling app Caribu or the Osmo model of academic pill equipment. That is as a result of though they’re totally different merchandise, they share a number of underlying qualities with Amazon’s Glow. Caribu is designed to assist children play video games and browse tales with kinfolk remotely by means of an interactive video chatting platform, and Osmo is all about incorporating real-world recreation items into academic video games you may play on a pill. 

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To grasp the similarities, it is necessary to understand how the Glow works. Amazon Glow is an Alexa-free video chatting gadget that consists of an 8-inch upright show, a digital camera with a built-in shutter and a projector. The gadget is not accessible to the general public but and may solely be obtained through invitation because it’s a part of the corporate’s Day 1 Editions program.

The fundamental premise behind the Glow is straightforward. Kids can video chat with kinfolk and family members on the gadget’s display screen, whereas a projector conjures up a digital play space for video games and actions that is displayed on a silicone mat in entrance of them. The individual on the opposite finish of the decision can take part in that recreation or puzzle on their pill by means of the Glow app.

The actions are additionally designed to mix real-world components with digital ones. For instance, in a demo video on Amazon’s web site, children might be seen arranging bodily recreation tiles, drawing footage with their finger on the play mat and shifting digital puzzle items on the mat — all whereas a grandparent or aunt on the opposite finish cheers them on. The gadget will include a one-year subscription to Amazon Youngsters Plus and can characteristic content material from Disney, Sesame Road, Barbie, Pixar and Sizzling Wheels.

The Caribu app is constructed on an identical idea, however with a special execution: It is an app with the identical objective, not a purpose-built gadget. Caribu is supposed to make the video calling expertise extra interactive by enabling youngsters and family members to share experiences like bedtime tales, coloring sheets and video games nearly. It is basically like a Zoom for teenagers that is accessible on iOS, Android and the net, however with built-in actions. 

The app has been round since 2016, however grew in recognition all through the pandemic as kinfolk regarded for methods to attach with little ones they could not see in individual. Maxeme Tuchman, Caribu’s CEO and co-founder, does not appear bothered by Amazon’s entry into the area.

“What I can say is that Caribu clearly recognized an issue out there, began a development, and now everybody desires in,” Tuchman mentioned in an announcement.


You should utilize the Caribu app to video chat and browse tales to the kid in your life.


Osmo, then again, is extra about turning your pill into an interactive gadget for academic video games and actions reasonably than social interplay. Osmo’s system entails slotting a suitable pill right into a base that permits it to face upright in portrait mode. You’d then place a purple reflector piece over the gadget’s digital camera. This reflector allows the pill to detect bodily recreation items in order that these real-world components might be integrated into the sport on display screen. 

Video games designed for the Osmo cowl a variety of abilities, together with coding, literacy, essential considering, drawing, math and science. Sure Osmo bundles are priced equally to the Amazon Glow, however the starter equipment — which incorporates the bottom, reflector, and 4 video games geared toward youngsters ages 3 to five — prices simply $79.

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Like Caribu, Osmo is not an apples-to-apples competitor to Amazon Glow. Amazon appears centered on the know-how whereas it depends on big-name companions for a lot of the content material, in contrast to Osmo. And Osmo is centered on solo playtime and studying, reasonably than shared experiences. 

There are additionally some elementary variations in how the merchandise work. Osmo does not undertaking photos onto a close-by floor just like the Glow. As an alternative it makes use of the reflector to ship a picture of recreation items or a baby’s drawing to the pill’s digital camera so it may be integrated into the sport. Amazon additionally particularly mentions that the Glow itself is not a toy, regardless of its similarity to merchandise which are thought of to be a part of the toy market.



Nonetheless, the core attraction of each merchandise comes right down to combining an on-screen expertise with real-world play components. As is the case with Caribu, the ideas are simply carried out in numerous methods. 

Much like Tuchman, Osmo co-creator Pramod Sharma did not specific concern about elevated competitors from Amazon. 

“We’re excited to see Amazon be part of the play motion we began with Osmo over seven years in the past,” Sharma mentioned through e mail. 

Amazon’s gadget additionally is not the primary experimental computing gadget to depend on a projector as a central a part of the interplay. You would possibly bear in mind HP’s Sprout Home windows 8 all-in-one PC from 2014, which projected a second display screen onto a 20-inch contact delicate mat located in entrance of the pc for drawing and different inventive work.

It is easy to grasp why Amazon would develop a product just like the Glow at a time like this. The pandemic has normalized distant studying and fueled curiosity in connecting with relations nearly. On the similar time, know-how is taking part in an even bigger position within the world marketplace for academic toys, which is anticipated to develop from $19.2 billion in 2020 to $31.62 billion by 2026, in line with Arziton Advisory and Intelligence. Toys that use augmented actuality to overlay digital graphics on real-world objects will doubtless increase the demand for studying toys year-over-year, says the report.

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Amazon Glow: An interactive projector for kids


Tech companies are also increasingly tailoring their products to appeal to younger audiences. Facebook offers a version of its Messenger chat app for children, and the company has been building a version of Instagram for kids, too. (Those plans were recently put on hold following backlash over the concerns that come with exposing younger age groups to social media.) Apple launched parental controls for the iPhone in 2019 and released Swift Playgrounds in 2016, a game aimed at teaching children how to code in Apple’s Swift programming language. 

It’s too soon to know whether the Amazon Glow will be a success. Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program is meant to provide access to new products before they’re ready for prime time, meaning they may not be ready for widespread release. Not all products in the program make it past the Day 1 Editions phase either. The Echo Loop, an Alexa-powered smart ring, never graduated from Day 1 Editions to become a real product, for example.

We’ll have to wait until we’ve tried Amazon’s new child-friendly gadget to know how it stacks up against existing products. 

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