Verizon’s Smart Display is real and it’s as pointless as we thought

We got our first look at Verizon’s Smart Display last month thanks to an FCC filing. Yesterday, Amazon confirmed the device’s existence as part of its Alexa Live presentation. It’s being introduced as part of the Alexa Custom Assistant program that allows third-party device manufacturers to add custom assistants built on top of Alexa technology, and we’re sorry to inform you that it looks just as useless as we first suspected.

Here’s what it offers: basic smart display stuff, like an 8-inch screen, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, and of course Alexa. It also comes with LTE, a specification included in the FCC filing and confirmed to CNET following the announcement. But the purpose of 4G seems to be limited to providing connectivity while setting up or troubleshooting Verizon home internet. Amazon says this will reduce the need to “send service technicians to a customer’s home or have a customer call the Verizon Call Center for assistance.” So that’s a bit of a narrow use case.

There are also Verizon service-specific commands that can be accessed by saying “Hello, Verizon,” such as checking your account or running a speed test. You know, things you can easily do on your phone or computer. You can ask Verizon smart assistant-type questions like the current weather, but based on a promotional video published by Amazon, it looks like Verizon will just ask Alexa for you. hmm.

If you ever thought to yourself, “Self, wouldn’t it be great to have a way to check my phone bill hands-free while eating a sandwich in the kitchen?” then you may have just found your match. Otherwise, this doesn’t exactly look like the smartest of all smart screens.

Verizon has not yet announced a price or set release date; CNET reports that the display will be available in limited beta testing later this year with Verizon home internet customers.