Amazon planning premium Alexa speaker with 7-in display
According to Bloomberg, Amazon are planning to capitalise on the success of its Alexa smart assistant by incorporating it into a premium speaker featuring a 7-in screen. The company are reportedly working towards a Q1 of 2017 release date in light of competition from Google and Apple.
Targeted at kitchen spaces, the product’s design will signal a major refresh from the cylindrical device consumers have come so familiar with since Echo’s release in 2014.
The product will apparently incorporate a touchscreen measuring roughly 7 inches so it is easier for customers to access content (e.g. appointments, news and weather forecasts). The speaker will be larger in size and will be able to be tilted upwards so it can be seen both when sitting and standing.
The Alexa device will also come with high end speakers to provide a better quality experience for people listening to music in their home. This could no doubt a bold move from Amazon if they hope to compete with audio manufacturers by expanding their offerings in such a way.
Regardless, the information ‘leak’ affirms how committed Amazon are acting quickly on listening to their consumers’ needs in leading the way in the voice control rat race, with both Google’s Home speaker and Apple (currently researching how to build a home device incorporating Siri) hot on its heels. Over 40 percent use Echo for music streaming services according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners analysis – more than the number that use it as an information provider.
So far the ‘high-grade' speakers have just been described as providing an improved listening experience to Echo devices, and ensuring the same quality at all sound levels – not just at the medium level. As yet there are no further details on how they plan on bettering the audio output. They have revealed, however, that the device will use an updated version of Fire OS (which runs both Amazon’s Fire tablets and TV set-top box), and respond to commands just as Echo, Dot and Tap devices do now.
Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon are also hard at work manufacturing an Alexa-powered device featuring a tablet-like computer screen, referred to as project “Knight” at the company’s HQ.
No details regarding the pricing of the product have been publicised yet, but the new Alexa product will most definitely come at a higher cost than Echo. Amazon have so far declined to comment on the story.
Sales of Amazon Echo devices in the US were estimated to be over 5 million according to a report released earlier this week by CIRP.