Amazon’s $5 Dash Buttons debuted in 2015, allowing you to buy a $5 button that you could place anywhere in your home so that you could instantly order refills from Amazon simply by pressing a button.
Need more dog food? Press a button and it’s delivered within days (or hours). Out of laundry detergent? There’s a Dash button for that.
Or at least there was. CNET reports that Amazon has decided to stop selling Dash buttons. If you already have one, it’ll continue to work normally. But you won’t be able to buy any new ones from Amazon anytime soon.
Why the change of heart? Basically because there’s no shortage of ways for you to order stuff these days.
Have an Amazon Echo or another device with the Alexa voice service baked in? You can order stuff by asking Alexa to add it to your cart.
A growing number of third-party internet-connected devices also make use of Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service. So you don’t even need to press a button. Your washing machine will know when you’re running low on detergent and it can place an order for you. Your printer can order ink. And so on.
Personally I’d rather do things the old fashioned way and spend hours looking for someone selling the same ink or toner cartridge for 25 cents less than the competitor, agonize over the decision, and then maybe think about placing my order.
Actually, having never actually used a Dash button, I think I just came close to selling myself on the concept of automatic refills.
In other news, hackers have been doing interesting things with Dash buttons for as long as they’ve been around. So if you were hoping you’d still be able to purchase a wireless button for non-shopping purposes, Amazon’s got you covered. The company is continuing to sell 1st-gen and 2nd-gen AWS IoT buttons for $15 and $20, respectively.
They’re basically dash buttons that are designed to be used by developers rather than shoppers.
Amazon is also continuing to offer “Virtual Dash Buttons” for folks that like the idea of a button, but don’t necessarily need it to exist outside of a screen.