You already know and love her
Commonly heard at my mom’s house: “Alexa, what’s the score of the Royal’s game?”
“Alexa, play Norah Jones.”
“Alexa, is it going to rain today?”
You’d think my mom had a new, highly knowledgeable friend named Alexa. And in a way, she does. But Alexa is just an artificially intelligent bot that lives in my mom’s smart home speaker system and responds to her verbal questions and commands.
Keeping up with the competition
Amazon’s line of Alexa-powered speakers have been a surprisingly popular product. More than 5 million Echo speakers have been sold since 2014, and that doesn’t include numbers from the sales of more budget friendly Dot and Tap speakers.
But Amazon still has to hustle to out-compete other big tech companies, all of whom are hungry to cash in on smart home devices. Google has a smart home speaker now, and Apple is working on a home device that will bring Siri into your living room.
Insiders report that in the first quarter of 2017, Amazon will unveil a new line of Echo speakers that will include a seven-inch touchscreen.
Currently, the Echo speaker is a simple cylinder. With the addition of a screen, users will be able to access weather reports and news, post events to their calendar, and display photos and notes, much like you would show off your kid’s school art project on the door of your refrigerator.
The rumors swirling
Supposedly the new speakers will have better sound quality since some users complained that the Echo speakers lose quality at higher volumes. The speaker itself will be larger than Echo’s current line, and will also include the screen, which will tilt upwards so that if it’s on your counter or tabletop, you can still see it easily while standing.
Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon’s hardware lab was working on a speaker with screen called “Knight”. Amazon will continue selling their Dot, Tap, and Echo speakers without screens. The new premium speaker with a screen will probably be more expensive than the current Echo speaker, which is $180.
These rumors come from company insiders, and Amazon has yet to confirm the new product.