What if your Amazon Echo had a 7-inch touchscreen? That could be a reality soon, as Amazon is reportedly working on a new premium Alexa device that could be the ultimate home assistant with beefed-up speakers and an interactive display.
Citing sources familiar to the project, Bloomberg reports that this new Alexa speaker would offer a wide set of features for a notably higher price than gadgets such as the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. The speaker will likely be larger than the Echo and will have an upwards tilt, allowing you to easily see its touchscreen when you have it propped up on your table.
Bloomberg notes that the new speaker will run an optimized version of the Fire OS software that powers Amazon's tablets, and may even allow you to pin photos to its home screen as if you were placing pictures on a refrigerator. The new device's speakers could be a significant step up in audio quality as well.
An Echo-like device with a touchscreen seems like a logical next step for Amazon. The company recently brought Alexa to its Fire tablets, which accompany Alexa's responses with visuals for things like sports scores and the weather, but require a button press for voice commands. A touchscreen-enabled Alexa speaker would give users the best of both worlds, combining the effortless voice controls of the Amazon Echo with the additional on-screen context of the company's tablets.
Amazon's family of Alexa gadgets — the $180 Amazon Echo, the $130 Amazon Tap and the $50 Echo Dot — have proven to be a big hit, and Bloomberg reports that all three will still be sold alongside the premium new speaker. Alexa has also migrated to many third-party devices, such as the Triby fridge speaker, select smartwatches and even Sonos speakers.
Perhaps Amazon's next Alexa speaker is an attempt to compete with both high-end Bluetooth speakers as well as rival smart home gadgets, such as the new Google Home. We'll have to wait and see to find out.