Amazon has stepped its offensive into the wired home and Internet of Things up a notch with its programmable Dash Button. As Amazon explains, “the AWS IoT Button is a programmable button based on the Amazon Dash Button hardware. This simple Wi-Fi device is easy to configure and designed for developers to get started.” Dash Buttons were already attracting enough attention when Amazon was offering them as branded alerts to reorder consumables like soap powder – but can they do anything to lever or integrate with Amazon’s equal dominance of ebooks and digital content?
Well, let’s see what it can do. Amazon says: “The button can be used as a remote control for Netflix, a switch for your Philips Hue light bulb, a check-in/check-out device for Airbnb guests, or a way to order your favorite pizza for delivery. You can integrate it with third-party APIs like Twitter, Facebook, Twilio, Slack or even your own company’s applications.” More specifically, “you can use the button to count items, track usage, call or text and alert someone, start and stop a process or Internet-connected device.”
Assuming you can start Netflix with this, you can presumably start Audible with it, and use the Dash Button as a remote control for your audiobook listening – at least for start and stop. You could conceivably use it to turn pages on a large remote display, if that took your fancy. But would this be a good use of your time and money? Because there’s one limitation on the tech at least now – battery duration. According to Amazon, “the battery should last for approximately 1,000 presses. When the device battery runs out of charge, there is no way to recharge or replace the battery.” So, if you put the Dash Button to work turning e-pages, you’d use it up after one long book. At $20 per Dash Button, that’s a pretty expensive way to get through your ebooks, and I don’t really see it working.
That said, this could activate Audible for you, or even open up the Kindle Store to order your next ebook – though you’ll likely have to tell Alexa what you actually want, or even use your fingers. To me, though, the Dash Button still seems a better match for consumables or services than content. But I fully expect to see some fanatical ebook geek put it to work for some e-reading application I haven’t thought of.
This is an interesting article on the button. It got me thinking about many many applications for it and then gave me the really bad news–you can’t replace the battery, and it doesn’t last very long! Great job.