Amazon's next-gen Echo may be a giant speaker with a touchscreen

Part speaker, part tablet.

Between smart home gear and digital assistants, it's looking like consumer technology's future may lie in voice controls—but one leader in the field might be taking a step backwards.

Amazon's reportedly working on an “Echo-like speaker” with a 7-inch touchscreen, according to Bloomberg’s Marc Gurman. That follows a Wall Street Journal report in May that said Amazon’s Lab126 was working on a voice-activated “tablet-like computer screen.”

There’s no word on what this device would look like, but from the descriptions it appears this device more closely resemble Amazon's Fire tablet than the Echo itself. The idea is to have an Alexa-powered smart device with a touchscreen for the kitchen or living room. That way you can call up a weather forecast or view a recipe online while your hands are otherwise occupied.

The device would apparently have better quality audio than the Echo speaker, which tends to struggle when you turn up the volume. It would also run Fire OS and be able to do all the things Alexa-powered speakers (and Fire tablets with Alexa) can do now. The touchscreen would also be able to tilt so you can view at various angles when standing up or sitting down.

The story behind the story: Amazon’s rumored plans may seem a little strange. The whole appeal of the Echo line is its simplicity, with your voice as the only means to interact with the speaker—a straightforward idea that caught on and sparked a race by competitors including Google (and possibly Apple) to follow suit. That increase in competition may be Amazon’s primary motivator to introduce new Alexa-powered devices, but it’s anybody’s guess whether a tablet with fancy speakers will help Amazon keep its lead.

The purported new Echo device (assuming it will have that name) could roll out as early as the first three months in 2017. When it does, Gurman says the other devices will remain, including the current Echo, as well as the Dot (our budget-level personal favorite) and Tap.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags amazon.com

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?