Amazon has revealed a programmable Dash Button which can be assigned to any product or purpose, a customizable version of its one-touch reordering gadgets. The AWS IoT Button looks just like the existing Dash Buttons, which allow products from more than 100 brands to be ordered with a single tap – no web browser required – and delivered to a preset address, but is designed for developers and Internet of Things tinkerers to dig into.
So, rather than having a new multipack of toilet rolls, or a fresh box of laundry detergent added to your shopping list, the AWS IoT Button could be used to trigger your lights, integrate with popular APIs from Twitter, Slack, Facebook, or others, or summon a car through Uber.
Developers can code the button’s logic in the cloud to configure button clicks to count or track items, call or alert someone, start or stop something, order services, or even provide feedback. “The AWS IoT Button can actually be made to connect with different services provided by Amazon without any coding skills. However, developers will be able to fully take advantage of the device, with some possibilities of the AWS IoT Button including having it start a car, call a friend or activate an appliance,” explains a Tech Times report.
It’s what many people have been asking for since Amazon first launched Dash Buttons in March 2015, a way to customize them for purposes other than the retailer’s list of approved items.
Just as before, each button connects to a WiFi network and then links straight to Amazon’s AWS cloud. The company says that integrating the button into a Lambda function is so straightforward that even beginners should be able to fathom it out, while still leaving sufficient flexibility for more ambitious projects to use the wireless key.
If there’s a downside, it’s that the hardware itself may not be ideal for every purpose, particularly when it comes to battery life.
In fact, it’s only rated to last for around 1,000 presses, and after that you’re expected to buy a new one. “When the device battery runs out of charge,” Amazon says, “there is no way to recharge or replace the battery.”
That’s no big deal if you’re using it to reorder Tide, but if you’re looking to use it as a light switch for your connected bulbs you’ll probably hit the 1,000 press limit far more rapidly. Meanwhile, those using the pre-configured Dash Buttons get them free: though there’s a $4.99 initial fee, that’s refunded when you make your first order.
The AWS IoT Button will apparently cost $19.95.
These are, of course, paid services Amazon offers to developers. A $20 button is a nice little hook to get someone to try out AWS Lambda, for instance, which can run a snippet of code in the cloud every time you click the button, without you having to provision a whole machine. It won’t take much code to escape the AWS confines and interact with the rest of the internet, but you’re you’re absolutely going to start there.
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