Amazon is in homes a few different ways. They’ve got Fire tablets and Fire TV sticks, Dash Buttons for true one-click ordering, and, lately, the Echo line of devices to give you a virtual assistant in your home.
What’s the next step? How about a bit of convergence? Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon has an Echo device in the works which would have a 7-inch touchscreen.
Our first hope is that this could be an Echo/Fire hybrid tablet which can sit in your home ready to accept commands (and using the screen to show more detailed information), and act as a Fire tablet when you leave the house. To be clear, Amazon has already introduced the first Fire Tablet with Alexa, but this new device could be better positioned for stationary in-home use.
Amazon would have to deal with an identity crisis issue if that’s the case, of course, as the Echo line aims to step out of the way and help you complete tasks and live your life through voice commands, while the Fire line is more for entertainment. There’s something to be said about product identity retention, but one Echo to rule them all sounds like more fun (and a more interesting marketing angle, which for Amazon would be more dollars).
Beyond a display, Amazon’s goal for the new device is to equip it with higher quality speakers, as the current devices have speakers whose quality degrades at higher volumes. Here, the speaker would be able to deliver high-quality audio at all volumes.
This could make it a nice one-stop shop for home entertainment users who want to get rid of some of their dedicated speaker setups. If true, it’s said Amazon is targeting a Q1 2017 launch.