If you’re like me when you think of Amazon and in-home shopping nowadays, the first thing that pops to mind is Alexa.
But before Alexa took over the world, Amazon had introduced another platform to enable effortless in-home shopping for pretty much anything: Dash. First came the wand and later Dash buttons, and eventually Amazon started to push Dash inside of appliances with its Dash Replenishment Service.
From there we all know what happened next. Alexa became a phenomenon and, for the most part, Dash became Amazon’s forgotten in-home commerce interface. Sure, Amazon still offers the stand-alone discrete buttons for all types of consumables like detergent and diapers, and they started pushing the idea of virtual buttons a couple of years ago, but for the most part the online shopping giant has largely de-emphasized Dash as tens of millions of Alexa devices have made their way into homes, ready to take your voice order for just about anything.
But Dash might not be dead just yet. This past January at CES, the company quietly announced the Virtual Dash Button Service (VDBS) as part of a broader Dash announcement that included a less-than-inspiring lineup of Dash Replenishment integrations (Petcube bites, anyone?). While the announcement was largely overlooked at the time, it was a sign that showed the company may still have some hope for the push-button ordering system.
While Whirlpool announced back in January they would be adding virtual Dash buttons to its appliances, for the most part, the VDBS service has yet to show up on any major appliances (unless, of course, you consider Amazon’s own microwave a major appliance).
That’s because Samsung released its latest version of their Family Hub software and, in addition to enhanced Smart Things and shopping list capabilities, it will also include the Virtual Dash Button Service.
It’s a nice addition for Samsung, particularly since those with the Family Hub fridge have largely been shut out of the Amazon ecosystem. As most know, Samsung and Amazon don’t usually play nice, and because of this, Samsung has preferred to stock up its flagship fridge on its own platforms rather than cede voice control real estate to the likes of Amazon. And while owners of the $3,000 and up tech-forward fridge will still be talking to Bixby, at least now they can order items from Amazon using Dash buttons.
In addition to Dash, Samsung also announced the availability of GrubHub and Uber, as well as an enhanced meal planning feature that includes the ability to have family member profiles that factor in personalized preferences and dietary restrictions. They also have integrated with Allrecipes which, according to the release, allows the user to build customized recipes based on food on hand.
As for Amazon and Dash, we’ll see if this is the reemergence of the company’s forgotten shopping platform. With CES 2019 just around the corner, I’ll be watching to see if other big appliance brands jump on board by adding virtual buttons as a feature in their smart kitchen offerings.