Amazon cooks up mystery Alexa-powered device with ‘tablet-like screen’
From your hand to your wrist to your home, intelligent devices have been slowly taking over, looking to improve and simplify every little aspect of the modern, always web-connected life. Smartphones are primarily credited for kicking off this second (third?) phase of the digital revolution, with wearables and universal voice-enabled controllers like the Amazon Echo leading the next automation step.
The smart speaker that was limitedly released in late 2014 to mixed critical and user response, then expanded in June of last year to widespread acclaim has already spawned two lower-cost spin-offs, as well as numerous related experiments and prototypes based on Alexa technology.
Meanwhile, Google is literally mere hours away from unveiling a direct rival fittingly dubbed Home, according to rumors. But the search giant might have waited too long to disconnect its Now personal assistant from traditional Android products, as Amazon is reportedly prepping an even more complex and versatile Echo variant, featuring a “tablet-like computer screen.”
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal doesn’t call this a tablet, suggesting the aforementioned screen may not even be operated by touch. That way, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant could keep production costs and ensuing retail prices relatively low, aiming the display-sporting Echo at cooking enthusiasts who like to get their hands but not their gadgets dirty and would appreciate some voice-relayed instructions in the kitchen.
Internally codenamed “Knight”, the project is of course developed by Lab126, Amazon’s R&D-responsible subsidiary behind both smash hits like the Kindle e-reader family, Fire TV or Echo itself, and colossal Fire Phone flop. Let’s see where this new device falls on that success scale.