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Amazon to Unveil New Echo Speaker

Amazon is planning to update its Amazon Echo line with a new speaker that includes a screen and video calling capabilities, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The upcoming speaker will feature a 7-inch touchscreen, used to make internet-based video/telephone calls and display visual results for spoken queries. Camera functionality could also be included, mirroring the capabilities of the recently introduced Echo Look.

This existing Echo device is currently priced at $150, but it normally sells for $180. The new speaker is expected to be sold for over $200, due to the included display.

Along with the new speaker, Amazon is also said to be planning to roll out telephone services to existing Echo devices over the next few weeks. To begin with, intercom functionality may be available, allowing two Echo devices to communicate with one another.

The imminent launch of an Amazon Echo device with a display comes as Apple is rumored to be nearing the final stages of development on its own Siri-based speaker, which would compete with the Echo and the Google Home.

Rumors have not suggested Apple's upcoming device will include a display, but Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller recently made some comments suggesting voice-activated smart speakers would be better with screens.

According to Schiller, a voice assistant without a screen doesn't "suit many situations," especially when it comes to social networking services, photos, and games.


 
 
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