Amazon’s Alexa powered speakers have proved to be a great success. Amidst critics who kept harping about how the device would prove to be useless, the Alexa powered Tap, Dot and Echo have proved to be anything but that. The speakers walked off the shelfs and now, other companies including Google, are launching Home based speakers of their own. Well, if the rumors are true, Amazon may be about to augment its Alexa-powered speakers with a touchscreen.
Yup. As per a Bloomberg report, Amazon is planning to follow up on the success of its home speakers with a high-end, premium device next year. The company is planning to add a screen to an Echo like device, that could then be tilted in whichever direction you could want, so as to viewing from everywhere. The information comes from people intimately familiar with the matter, who have requested to remain anonymous.
The touchscreen on the upcoming “Home” devices is said to measure somewhere around seven inches. While a complete about turn from what the Echo/Dot/Tap ideology, which put forward natural, voice communication as the main modicum of control. However, the touchscreen is expected to be well worth the change and make interaction with the speaker even more productive.
The touchscreen is expected to make it easier to access and modify content associated with weather forecasts, calendar appointments, news and so on. After all, it is a bit of bother to try and change a list while using Alexa — It takes forever and you have to keep asking it to go back and re-read the list. And then when it comes to Alexa “Skills” like access to thousands of recipes that it can only read out at present — well, the touchscreen could actually prove to be a very worthy addition.
The speakers will apparently tilt upwards so that the screen can be from everywhere.
The company is also expected to ramp up the quality of speakers on the device and improve how Alexa sounds while it responds to voice commands.
The upgraded Alexa device is slated for a roll out in the first quarter of 2017 — although that is a tentative time frame. Meanwhile, the new device is expected to rock an optimized version of Fire OS, the same software that Amazon deploy’s on its Fire tablets and Fire TV set-top box. While the Fire Tablet has mostly been a disappointment, the company hopes that the OS will do better when combined with the popular Alexa powered speakers.
Well, that is about all we know about the device at the moment — except for the fact that it is known as “Knight” internally. This last fact was reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. Launching another iteration with all these iterations means that Amazon is totally serious about this device. Judging by the fact that the company sold over 5 million of its Alexa powered speakers and has sparked the interest of companies like Google and Apple, the niche is probably worth the investments the company is undoubtedly pouring into it.
Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for smartphone mounted home speakers.