Amazon’s Dash Buttons are there to make shopping easier. Instead of pulling out your phone or heading to the computer when you’re running low on laundry detergent or razors, you just push one of the customized buttons and it’ll be shipped with your next Amazon purchase.
But Amazon’s newest Dash button isn’t for ordering things; it’s for accessing the Internet of Things. The AWS IoT Button is in the same form factor as the Dash, but serves as a physical button to connect with digital services instead.
— Werner Vogels (@Werner) May 13, 2016
“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,” the button’s description reads.
Amazon invents the light switch
— Mike Murphy (@mcwm) May 13, 2016
However, it isn’t quite as easy to set up as the standard Dash buttons. You’ll need to configure the IoT button with AWS frameworks, which, while free to use, isn’t exactly user-friendly. But this may be the first step in a line of smarter buttons built on Amazon’s frameworks.
The company has already seen success in controlling smart-home features with Alexa integrations, but adding physical buttons may help Amazon reach into even more homes. In fact, the company is just following demand, since users have already hacked the Dash buttons to use them as trackers around the house.
There is one other hiccup to the AWS IoT Button: it’s $19.95 per button. That price may be prohibitive to some tinkerers, but not all, since the button is currently unavailable, a day after going on sale. And it’s also listed as a “limited release,” so we may not see new ones coming online any time soon.