by Dan Moren
Report: Amazon working on an Alexa-speaker with a screen
Scoopster Mark Gurman at Bloomberg:
The new device will have a touchscreen measuring about seven inches, a major departure from Amazon’s existing cylindrical home devices that are controlled and respond mostly through the company’s voice-based Alexa digital assistant, according to two people familiar with the matter. This will make it easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and news, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a product that has yet to be announced.
Wacky. Gurman also says it will probably be more expensive than the Echo, have better speakers, and will run a version of Amazon’s Android fork, Fire OS. Oh, and as opposed to the Echo/Dot, which are apparently used mostly in the bedroom or living room, this new device is targeted at the kitchen. (Hey, that’s where I have my Echo!)
So, interesting choice. I can definitely see the appeal, although I can also see the argument that at some point it’s basically a stationary tablet.1 But, there are certainly times when Alexa could more easily deliver information for people to read than to listen to, and times when it would be easier to interact with a touchscreen. So, call me cautiously optimistic.
- Indeed, the company already connects Fire tablets with the Echo, letting the tablet display information cards requested via Alexa. ↩