Report: Amazon Alexa device with touchscreen in development

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon is reportedly working on a new hardware device — a premium Alexa speaker that will include a screen, according to Bloomberg.
  • The move comes at a time when the company’s Alexa AI-driven Echo device has proven to be popular, with Amazon currently having a lead over major competitors in home assistants like Google and Apple.
  • The touchscreen on the proposed device will be seven inches and will make it easier for users to access information like weather reports, calendars and news.

Dive Insight:

Amazon’s new Alexa device would be a significant departure from the current Dot, Tap and Echo models, which all primarily work through voice. Adding a touchscreen interface to the Alexa experience will allow users to engage with a variety of content.

Even though the screen is relatively small and designed for basic informational tasks according to preliminary reports, it will be interesting to see if Amazon looks to tie the new device into its Prime video service or even e-commerce functions on the main Amazon website.

Audio will still be a big focus for the new device, which will reportedly offer higher-quality speakers. 

The move seems a clear attempt to capitalize on Echo’s success. Amazon has reportedly sold more than 5 million Echo units since launch, including 2 million sold before the holiday season started. It is also a response to the increased competition in the home gadget space from Google and others. 

For the holiday season Amazon launched an ad campaign featuring its Alexa artificial intelligence capability in more than 100 spots according to Marketing Land. Later in October, Amazon added Alexa to its line of Fire tablets paving the way for the AI assistant to become more integrated across Amazon’s hardware devices.