Amazon.com is developing a premium Echo-like speaker with a screen, as the online retailer is trying to capitalize on the success of its voice-controlled home gadgets and fend off competition from Google and Apple.
The new device will have a touchscreen measuring about seven inches, a major departure from Amazon?s existing cylindrical home devices that are controlled and respond mostly through the company?s voice-based Alexa digital assistant, according Bloomberg.
The latest Amazon speaker will be larger and tilt upwards so the screen can be seen when it sits on a counter and the user is standing, the report added.
High-grade speakers will make the gadget sound much better than current Echo devices. Amazon's new device is scheduled to be announced as soon as the first quarter of 2017.
Amazon's planned expansion of the Alexa-powered line coincides with growing competition from Google Home speaker and Apple?s interest in building a home device using its Siri digital assistant.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Amazon's Lab126 hardware unit was working on an Alexa-powered device featuring a tablet-like computer screen known internally as "Knight."