It seems every generation has its own unique learning devices that we use to teach kids as they grow up. The Speak & Spell and original Leapfrog tablet are some of the most famous examples over the past few decades. We can now add Amazon Glow to that list in 2022; however, it taps directly into the more modern era of always being online and connected. This guide will cover what Amazon Glow is, where you can get one, and highlight the types of games or content you can play on it.
What exactly is an Amazon Glow device?
The thing about other similar devices in the past—they typically would only do one form of interaction at a time. However, the Amazon Glow device offers real-time video calls and an interactive display projector to create a unique experience. And instead of one-sided learning, Amazon Glow is designed to help your child play and learn with you or other family members from anywhere in the world. The idea of remote learning while also being together is fundamental for everyone involved. This is especially true today when kids are surrounded by technology more than any previous generation.
Amazon Glow can't be classified by a single specific device category one might think of when describing it. It's not a tablet, a smartphone, or a speaker—so what would you call it exactly? Amazon describes it as a "video calling and interactive entertainment system designed to make it easier for children to bond with remote family." That means the Glow can be enjoyed by both kids and adults equally, especially for those not in the same room. It uses a projector with sensors to display a large 19-inch touch screen on any flat surface.
The tablet part that shows the remote viewer during a video call has an 8-inch touch screen, which can also be used to interact with Amazon Glow for other tasks. The current Glow version does not have a battery, meaning it must be plugged in at all times during use. Amazon could offer a truly wireless model in the future, but it's still too early to say for sure. It also has Bluetooth 5.0 support built in, so it appears you'll be able to attach a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds as needed.
What can you do with an Amazon Glow device?
Since this is a video calling and interactive entertainment system, you can expect to have various different ways you can use the Amazon Glow. You can play kid-friendly games for learning or relaxing, read interactive story books, and even video chat with parent-approved family members. The main idea is to have a remote family member or friend join in alongside your child as a means of bonding. The remote user can download the Amazon Glow app on their smartphone or tablet and play right along with them from anywhere in the world.
At the same time, if you're a parent of a young child and constantly away from home for work or other reasons, the Amazon Glow could be just what you need. You'd probably like to spend more time with your child while you're away but aren't sure how to make it happen. Since Glow was designed as a video calling device and an interactive entertainment system, you can be there every step of the way. Play, chat, read, and learn with your child in real-time like you never thought would be possible when you're not at home.
What is the recommended age range for the Amazon Glow?
Amazon states an age minimum of 3 and a possible upper age limit of 9 for the Glow device. Each age group has its own set of appropriate games and activities, so you can rest assured that there's plenty of variety to choose from. So if your child is anywhere in the 3 to 9 age range, the Amazon Glow will have everything they need to play, learn, and grow at their own pace.
How is Amazon Glow different from other Amazon products?
Amazon has multiple kid-friendly products already, such as the Fire Tablet HD and Amazon Echo speaker. These devices also offer apps and activities you can use with your child to let them play, learn, and have fun. And each one has parental controls in place through your Amazon account, which is extremely important. So what makes Glow devices different from the others? For starters, it's a dedicated kid-friendly platform that doesn't use the typical Amazon Appstore — it has a unique app store. This means it'll be here for the long haul as a continuous separate entity.
At the same time, other Amazon products are multipurpose devices that usually rely on one-sided learning. This means handing the device to your child and letting them play or learn in a single-player environment. There's nothing wrong with that, but this is where the Glow devices differ — they combine remote learning with loved ones to encourage your child's engagement through bonding. Think more multiplayer and less single player. Nothing quite like it exists on the market from Amazon today, so we have to refer to the Glow as a video calling and interactive entertainment system.
What does the setup process look like?
The Amazon Glow device is a standalone unit that your child will be interacting with on their side. Once you connect it to your home Wi-Fi network, you download the Glow app, then sign in with your Amazon account. For the remote part, you have the other users download the Glow app on a phone or tablet, then you can invite them to access your Amazon Glow device. The setup process should be minimal and accessible for everyone, no matter their level of experience with technology. Keeping things as simple as possible is very helpful here.
And don't worry — random people who download the Amazon Glow app won't be able to connect to your device. For the connection to be made, you must give each remote user permission to access your Glow. This requires you to have a phone number attached to your Amazon account before you can use video calls on the device. When your remote family or friends download the app, you just share your phone number and grant them the proper permissions. You have the final decision on who has access to your Glow device at any time.
Although the Amazon Glow device promotes itself with video calling and always online features, it can also be used offline for certain games and activities. Checkers just so happens to be one that can be played without an active connection in solo mode or with a local partner. You can even disable the camera and mic using a privacy switch, which stays off until you turn it back on.
Are there parental controls available?
Amazon made sure the Glow device and every aspect of the experience were kid-friendly and safe for them to use based on your custom preferences. The Amazon Parent Dashboard gives you all the necessary tools you could want to ensure your kids are safe while playing. Such features might include checking how long they spend on certain apps, setting game time limits, or restricting access to specific content with age filters. You, as the parent, have complete control over your kid's profile and how they interact with the Amazon Glow device.
Where can I get one?
At this time, Amazon Glow is only being shipped for availability in the US market. Unfortunately, if you don't live in the US, that limits how you can get a hold of the product for you and your family. If you plan to import an Amazon Glow to your country right now, you should consider a few things beforehand. Some have said changing your Amazon account country setting to the US might give you access to the core service. Others have also mentioned using a VPN to connect to a US server to use certain Amazon Glow features.
Of course, not everyone would be willing to go to that extent just to use the product unofficially in their country. For everyone else, Amazon will likely expand availability to other official global markets in due time. In this case, the best bet may be to wait it out for those not in the US. Amazon Glow recently came out of an invite-only program in early 2022, so it makes sense the global public rollout might be a bit slow. We'll update this article as needed if and when new markets go live in the future.
What comes in the box?
Aside from the Amazon Glow device, you can expect a silicone projection mat, a case for the mat, a 30-watt power adapter with a 6.6-foot cable, and the essential quick start guide. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but something unique with your purchase includes what Amazon calls Tangram Bits. These physical pieces unlock new features and can be used in games with a remote partner where they use the digital versions. You also get a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription, which is needed to access the thousands of storybooks, multiple games, and other content on your Amazon Glow.
How much does it cost?
The bundle deal currently being offered retails at $330; however, there's a special promotion going on until July 13, 2022. It's exclusive to Amazon Prime members, but it can bring the Glow bundle cost down to $150, making for some good savings. Supplies are limited as expected during a promotion such as this, so it's a first come, first served situation. They may offer similar deals in the future to get more Glow devices into homes across the US, but this is how things look for the time being.
As mentioned earlier, your Amazon Glow purchase does come with a 1-year Amazon Kids+ subscription to get you started. It'll cost $4.99 monthly (or $48.00 on the annual tier) as a Prime member to keep your account active after the first year. So if you can grab the special bundle price, you can theoretically use the savings and put it towards your subscription fee for many years into the future. And at this time, two Amazon Glow devices cannot be used together — you only need one since the remote user will be on a phone or tablet.
What kinds of games or content can be played?
Since Amazon Glow combines a 19-inch interactive touch projector screen with video calls, you can imagine how many possibilities that could bring to the literal table. For starters, there are various interactive storybooks crafted by Disney and Pixar with thousands of other Amazon Kids+ certified books at your fingertips. Out of the dozens of games available, some include famous cartoon character JigSaw puzzles and classic versions of chess or checkers. There are also drawing activities that allow you to create your own custom art pieces, with the ability to scan real-world objects directly into the scene.
It should also be mentioned that Amazon views the Glow device as a platform, not just a one-off product. You can expect new content and games to be added over time to help keep things fresh and exciting. Much like the Fire tablet scene, it makes sense to build out and set Amazon Glow apart from other Amazon products on the market. A new platform that can potentially take off gives app developers a further incentive to bring content exclusively to the device. Of course, we'll have to wait and see how things unfold from here.
Amazon explicitly states that the Glow is not a toy — there should still be supervision involved when using it. Of course, this is to be expected, just like giving a new tablet to a child. As long as you have your Amazon parental control parameters set up and you keep an eye on them as they use the Glow device, you should be fine.
As you can see, the Amazon Glow is quite an interesting take on the learning devices of the future with its unique features. Having both an interactive touch-capable projector and video calling capabilities is like no other product today. Although it's only officially available in the US market now, it'll likely be launched elsewhere in no time. So if you can't get one yet, don't fret—it'll eventually make its rounds to the rest of the world; we just don't know how long that'll take. If you're looking for something a little less interactive, you might want to try Amazon Prime Gaming.