Amazon Echo Show brings video to smart-speaker party

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echotouchscreen
Could this be Amazon's new Echo speaker?
Photo: AFTVnews

Update: Amazon unveiled its new touchscreen Echo Show device Tuesday. In addition to smart-speaker functionality, the Amazon Echo Show brings video calls, video flash briefings, YouTube, karaoke-style music lyrics, security camera integration and more. Available for preorder now, the device will ship June 28 for $229.99.

Amazon could debut its new touchscreen Echo smart speaker as early as today, claims a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The latest in a line of popular Amazon Echo voice-activated speakers, the new device is likely to add a 7-inch display and a built-in camera. It will function like the existing Echo, but with the addition of touchscreen-based features.

The new Echo would be the fifth device in the series from Amazon. The original Echo, smaller Echo Dot and portable Tap are all speaker-based models. The recently launched Echo Look is a combination camera/speaker that offers fashion tips.

The new touchscreen Echo is likely to cost more than $200, which would make it the most expensive product in the line, ahead of the Look. There’s no word on when it might be available to customers.

New smart speaker challengers

News of the new touchscreen Echo comes as competition heats up in the product category, with various AI assistants vying for the role of our voice-activated concierges. The Google Home came out last November, bringing Google Assistant to the growing smart-speaker scrum. Microsoft teamed with Harman Kardon to produce an Echo competitor called the Invoke, slated to launch later this year.

Apple is reportedly finalizing designs for its own device, which would put Siri front and center.

According to renowned Apple tipster Sonny Dickson, Apple’s high-end rival will be “marketed as an Siri/AirPlay device,” representing the next step in Siri’s evolution. Rumored to involve some form of Beats audio technology, it reportedly will run an operating system based on iOS. Earlier rumors suggested Apple’s smart speaker might also include facial recognition technology designed to detect users’ emotional states.

While Apple has yet to speak publicly about launching its own version of the Echo, reports claim that it could debut as soon as next month’s WWDC. In other words, whatever Amazon announces today, it may be worth waiting a few more weeks to properly weigh up all the marketplace competition.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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