Smart home devices are gaining more momentum. Speakers are especially getting attention lately from consumers and manufacturers alike. Amazon is reportedly planning a device similar to the Alexa and Echo family, with a large 7-inch touch screen. Competition is ramping up from Google and supposedly Apple, so Amazon seems to be looking to push the envelope in this recently successful market.
We may get an additional entry to the selection of the Echo, Tap, and Dot. Bloomberg has reported that Amazon will release a premium device, similar in concept to the Echo. It will reportedly sport a large touch screen to display Alexa’s weather, search results, and other responses to complement the audio feedback we are now used to. The software may be a flavour of Amazon’s Fire OS, which is found in their tablets and the Fire TV. Don’t expect them to ditch a consistent and familiar user experience for something more experimental.
In addition to the screen, another major change will be an upgraded speaker for better audio quality. The current Echo has been criticized for poor sound at higher volumes, so this development is aiming to overcome that negative. Instead of being optimized for mid to low volume levels, the new speaker should be optimized for all volumes. Alexa would be able to sufficiently shout chili recipes at you from across the house.
At $180, the Echo is on the more expensive side of available devices, including Amazon’s other variants. The Google Home sits well below that, at $129 retail. Expect a higher ticket for this touch screen-enabled device, and expect an even tighter niche of buyers with that. Companies are fighting to claim dominance in this emerging area of smart tech, so we should not be surprised to see more products coming from more manufacturers.
What say ye, geeks? Do you have a smart home speaker already? Would having a screen make these devices more appealing to you? Sound off in the comments and let us know if you’re a buyer!