The official announcement of the recently leaked Amazon Echo with touchscreen is closer than most expected, with Amazon said to be preparing to unveil the device as soon as Tuesday, May 9.
A small image of Amazon Echo's new model was first spotted by AFTVnews on Amazon's servers, before prolific leaker Evan Blass stepped in and shared high-resolution pictures of the upcoming device.
Amazon Prepares To Unveil Echo With Touchscreen
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is expected to announce the new version of the Amazon Echo as early as Tuesday, May 9. This corroborates with the discovery of the device's image on Amazon's servers, as its presence meant that the company was gearing up for its announcement.
Sources familiar with the matter claimed that the new Amazon Echo will be able to support video calls and internet-based telephone calls, in addition to the skills developed for Alexa. The calling features for the device, however, will be released in stages, with Amazon still testing with an intercom feature that will connect several Echo products within the home.
The new Amazon Echo, which has a camera to carry out video calls, will also likely support some of the features offered by the Echo Look. The camera-equipped Echo Look uses artificial intelligence to help users pick out their outfits daily. With the new Amazon Echo also sporting a camera, there is the possibility that it will also be able to assist users with their fashion choices.
The presence of a touchscreen will also look to fill the gaps in the functionality of the display-less Amazon Echo. A touchscreen will be very useful for some tasks, such as when browsing through content libraries and accessing map information.
All these features will push the Amazon Echo with touchscreen as a premium smart home device. Its price tag will reflect this distinction, with The Wall Street Journal claiming that the new Amazon Echo will be sold for more than $200. In comparison, the base model of the Amazon Echo, which was released in late 2014, is currently selling for $149, with newer models Echo Tap and Echo Dot carrying lower price tags.
Amazon employees have reportedly been testing the new Amazon Echo for several months. After the device is announced soon, it is expected to start shipping sometime in June.
Amazon Echo To Face New Competition
While the Echo Look can only be purchased with an invitation, Amazon will likely launch a massive marketing push for the Amazon Echo with touchscreen. This is because the company is likely about to face renewed competition in the smart speaker industry.
The Google Home has so far been the Amazon Echo's chief competitor, but reports claim that Apple will also soon be joining the fray. Rumors state that Apple will unveil a smart speaker, powered by its digital personal assistant Siri, at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The Siri-powered smart speaker is described as a premium device that will likely carry a higher price tag than the regular Amazon Echo.
It is unclear if the leaked image prompted Amazon to announce the smart speaker sooner than planned.