Watch out, Amazon. "Industry sources" have told the Nikkei Asian Review that Google is preparing to release a smart speaker with a screen.
The gadget would be the first Google-made competitor to rival Amazon's touchscreen Echo Show and Echo Spot. And the Google Assistant-powered device would be out in time for this holiday season, when smart-speaker purchases are usually at their highest.
The source claims that Google plans to ship 3 million units in its first release. This is an ambitious, though not altogether unrealistic number. The Google Home itself sold around 4.6 million units in the third quarter of 2017, and 7.6 million in the fourth quarter. However, Amazon shipped only 315,000 Echo Show units in 2017, according to Canalys.
Smart displays can be very useful for household tasks. For example, you can display recipes while cooking, or track where your Uber is while you get ready for work.
Up until now, Google has been behind the scenes, working with partners to deliver products like the Lenovo Smart Display. You can take your pick of either an 8-inch ($199) model or a 10-inch ($249) version. We really liked this device in our review, as it offers a better touch-screen interface than the Echo Show. Plus, you get YouTube support, which the Echo Show lacks.
Other Smart Displays are coming from JBL and LG with various designs.
So why would Google decide to compete against its partners? "It could be easier to learn users' behaviors, experiences and data in a more direct way if they could control the end-devices that go into people's homes," IDC researcher Joey Yen told Nikkei.