Amazon Developing a New Echo Speaker with a 7-inch Touch Screen, To Take On Google Home

Amazon is stepping up its game by developing a new "premium Echo-like speaker" with a 7-inch touch screen display. It is said to work with the online retailer's digital assistant Alexa. This move is more likely Amazon's take on the recently launched Google Home and Apple's yet to be released own smart home device.
Bloomberg has reported that according to some sources, Amazon is developing a new Echo-like speaker with a 7-inch touch screen display. It does not have a cylindrical design like the online retailer's other smart home devices. Scott Lewis / Flickr

Amazon is stepping up its game by developing a new "premium Echo-like speaker" with a 7-inch touch screen display. It is said to work with the online retailer's digital assistant Alexa. This move is more likely Amazon's take on the recently launched Google Home and Apple's yet to be released own smart home device.

According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with the matter revealed that this new device will be announced in the first quarter of next year. Unlike its popular signature cylindrical smart home gadgets, it does not function solely upon voice commands enabled by Alexa. They shared that the touch screen display can be used to control the new Echo-like speaker. This means that you can now easily access content that includes weather forecasts, calendar appointments and news.

One of the sources added that the speaker is actually larger and the screen can be tilted upwards. Furthermore, it is equipped with high-grade speakers that are not present in current Echo devices. Naturally, this upcoming Amazon gadget will provide a way better sound. It should be able to "play high-quality audio at all volume levels," one of the sources said.

This new Amazon product will use an "optimized version of Fire OS", the same one that Fire tablets and Fire TVs are running on. Users should still expect a response from the new device with regards to verbal commands and spoken questions. Amazon might also integrate a feature that will let users "to pin items such as photos" on the new speaker's screen. With all these in mind, it's highly probable that the speaker with a touch screen will cost more than the existing ones. Amazon is yet to confirm this report. Apparently, the online retailer declined to comment.

It's not surprising that Amazon is building this innovative smart home device. This is considering the fact that it is facing growing competitions like Google and Apple, according to the Business Insider. It's not only the battle of smart speakers but of digital assistants as well. The Google Home was introduced alongside the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL flagship smartphones back on Oct. 4. It was released in the US on Nov. 4. The Google smart home device is equipped with Google Assistant compared to Echo's Alexa.

On the other hand, Bloomberg and The Information had previously reported that Apple was working on "an Echo-esque smart home device". The tech giant will use its own digital assistant, Siri. As companies further invest on perfecting artificial intelligence, it will translate into more innovative features as far as gadgets are concerned.

Tags : Amazon, amazon echo, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire tablet, Alexa digital assistant, Siri, Google Assistant, Google Home, Google, apple, Fire OS, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL