Amazon gives voice-enabled speaker a screen, video calling

Angelica Greene
May 10, 2017

OK, so I know that our phones and computers both have screens and access to the current lineup of digital assistants on the market which technically means we have had stand alone devices for sometime that give us visuals alongside the assistance we get from these assistants.

Amazon could soon be launching a new version of Echo with a touch-screen and front-facing camera.

While using devices like the Echo or Apple's (AAPL) voice assistant Siri is still not the norm in the U.S.in 2017, their popularity is growing, according to a new study from eMarketer. "I think voice assistants are incredibly powerful, their intelligence is going to grow, they're going to do more for us, but the role of the screen is going to remain very important to all of this", Schiller said.

Tests by analysts have shown the technology underpinning the Google Home to match or be superior to competitors.

The potential home speaker - the likes of which are created to be the focal point of a connected lounge room - would directly compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home which have carved out a dominant stake in the emerging market.

Some 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-enabled virtual assistant home hubs such as Amazon Echo and Google Home at least once monthly in 2017 - up 128.9% from 2016, according to eMarketer. "My mother used to have a saying that if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all", Schiller said, before talking about the general concept of smart speakers.

However, Amazon's Alexa software has a wider range of skills on offer that enable it to link up with and control more third-party devices around the home. You'll also have to enable Alexa calling and messaging in the system's settings, and anyone you'll want to call with have to enable this function too.

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A light comes on to remind you that it's listening.

That puts it far ahead of Alphabet Inc's Google Home (pictured), a similar gadget that has a 23.8 percent share, and less successful offerings from other tech companies. Some 33.5% will use their virtual assistants this year.

That's over a quarter of U.S. smartphone users.

However, Apple is not the only company considering the idea of adding a screen to its smart speaker.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the firm will unveil the Siri speaker at WWDC.

Sonny Dickson, who is known for sharing inside information in the tech world, has also revealed that Apple is "currently finalizing" its smart speaker that will be marketed as a "Siri/AirPlay device".

Other reports by GizPress

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