Amazon’s Dash Buttons always felt like a weird experiment/monument to consumerism.
Buy this small wireless gadget for $5, tap it whenever you want to re-order soap, pet food, or other frequently-purchased items, and Amazon will bill you and ship your product automatically (and give you a $5 credit with your first order).
First launched in 2015, Amazon stopped selling Dash buttons earlier this year — but existing customers could still use them. Soon you won’t be able to… at least not the way Amazon intended.
In a statement released to Engadget, Amazon says that “starting August 31st, 2019, customers will no longer be able to place orders through Dash button devices globally.”
Amazon customers who really like the idea of one-tap shopping for regularly-purchased items can still use “virtual dash buttons” on the Amazon website. But clicking a picture to order toothpaste, vitamins, or snack bars isn’t really all that different from searching for those products and clicking the “buy now button.”
That said, what I’ve always found kind of fascinating about Dash buttons is their potential for off-label usage. They’re basically $5 internet-connected, battery-powered buttons that can be hacked to do other things (like add data to a spreadsheet every time you click or control smart home gadget).
In fact, if Amazon’s physical dash buttons have any sort of future, it’s in this hackable/programmable realm. While the $5 Dash buttons for shopping have been discontinued, Amazon continues to sell the AWS IoT Enterprise Button for $20.
It’s basically a WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled Dash button that’s designed to be programmed to things other than let you buy things. And it’s the last dash button-like thing still standing (unless you count clones from companies that aren’t Amazon).
After opening a couple of these, they probably cost Amazon over $8 per button. They probably break even when 3 orders are made. The hardware system inside is very well done… textbook example of what an IOT device really is.
I have a couple of these. I was kind of expecting this announcement because the offerings had become slimmer and slimmer to the point where one of my buttons didn’t have any eligible products anymore.
I liked the idea for consumables that have a variable rate (paper towels, laundry detergent, and dog biscuits in our case) and the fact that I didn’t have to speak to an AI to reorder. But, in the end, the Echo certainly has supplanted this. It’s easy enough to say, “Alexa, reorder X”. Heck, Alexa will now remind you for things it thinks you might need more of (based on its analysis of your past purchase patterns).
The real problem with these is you don’t have to go to their site and get advertised at. That’s the last thing they want.
Echo Dots definitely replaced these. I’ve seen Dots for as low as $10 recently and they’re infinitely more flexible and lets you order any brand of the product you wish.
Maybe, but the Dots add something a good chunk of the people in the world do not want in their homes, an always on microphone. (I have 7 Alexa devices all across my home so I’m not a tin foil hatter, just pointing out the additional cost of the Dots/inviting Amazon into your home/bedroom) Im more wondering what happened to the original, cheaper, universal “pick what you want it to do” version that required no “hacking” or modding of any kind beyond telling Amazon you wanted it to do.
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