The next version of Amazon’s Echo will reportedly be more than just a speaker.
Bloomberg reports Amazon is working on a high-end speaker similar to Echo, but will feature improved speakers and a 7-inch touchscreen. The speaker will still host Alexa, the company’s digital voice assistant.
The idea behind the touchscreen, a first for the Echo line, is to allow users to access news stories or weather reports more easily. The report also says the speaker will be larger and tilt upward for standing users. It’s not clear whether there will be an option to tilt the tablet to a desired angle.
The high-end version would sit alongside a variety of Alexa-enabled speakers: the standard Echo, a portable Tap where users access Alexa by tapping on the top of the speaker, and the smaller, more affordable Dot, which boasts a smaller, built-in speaker but can plug into devices with more powerful sound.
The Echo has kickstarted the market for digital voice assistants, which grows more crowded with competitors including Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. Samsung is reportedly working on its own digital assistant.
Meanwhile, Amazon faced its first big rival in the home speaker space this year, as Google rolled out Google Home. Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly working on its own home speaker that will host Siri.