Amazon’s Echo family of smart speakers is said to get bigger faster and earlier than we have expected.
The online retail giant will likely reveal a new Echo device with a built-in screen next month, according to media reports. This information comes just after Amazon on Wednesday introduced the Echo Look, a smart speaker with a built-in camera.
The new device will help Amazon expand and improve the Echo’s capabilities in more areas, including video chats and online shopping, making the gadget more of a must-have item for homes.
The company sold an estimated 8 million Amazon Echo devices in the US alone since the product first launched, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners said in January.
Reports of an Echo with a screen have come out since last year through mainstream media outlets. The device’s code name is “Knight”.
While voice assistants can tackle simple commands, the screen could allow Alexa to respond to more complex queries. For example, voice shopping on the Echo today often requires users to wait and listen to multiple choices, but a screen could present those options all at once.
Also, there’s a better chance Amazon will come out with an Echo that includes both a screen and camera, especially now that the Echo Look has been introduced.
Having a screen available could cut down on Alexa misunderstanding a query, a problem that’s still typical for voice assistants. Audio input and output isn’t always the best because it rarely gets it right every time.
Alexa is available on Amazon’s Fire tablets and Fire TV, with the tablet’s screen able to show additional information, such as the weather report, when Alexa is queried. Alexa can also be used to get news and launch apps on the tablet and Fire TV.