Amazon plans touchscreen Alexa speaker

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Amazon Echo
Using Alexa is about to get even better.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Amazon is planning to capitalize on the success of its Alexa speakers by launching a high-end model with improved audio and a built-in touchscreen, according to a new report.

It would become the first Alexa speaker with a display, which is expected to show useful information like weather forecasts, calendar appointments and breaking news.

Amazon now manufactures a range of smart speakers at different price points, and they’ve all received glowing reviews — thanks mostly to the power of AI assistant Alexa. Now it seems the retail giant believes Alexa could be even better when accompanied by a touchscreen.

“The latest Amazon speaker will be larger and tilt upwards so the screen can be seen when it sits on a counter and the user is standing,” reports Bloombergciting sources familiar with Amazon’s plans. The display is expected to measure 7 inches.

“This will make it easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and news, the people said.” Amazon is also said to be working on a feature that will let users pin things like photos and to-do lists onto the speaker’s home screen.

In addition to the touchscreen, the new speaker is expected to offer “high-grade” speakers for louder, higher-quality sound. The device will be powered by a modified version of the Fire OS platform, which powers Amazon’s tablets and Fire TV devices.

The sources say Amazon will announce the device during the first quarter of 2017. It’s thought the retail giant will continue to offer its existing Dot, Tap and Echo devices, which are currently priced at $50, $130 and $180, respectively.