Amazon is working on a new Alexa-powered device with a 7-inch touchscreen and high-end speakers, designed to sit on a counter and tilt upward for easy viewing and use, according to a report by Bloomberg News this morning, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The device could be announced as early as the first quarter of next year, according to the report. It would capitalize on the surprise success of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers, potentially keeping the Seattle-based company ahead of Apple, Google, Microsoft and other rivals in the effort to bring voice-activated intelligent assistants into the home.
We’ve contacted Amazon for comment on the Bloomberg story. The report is by Mark Gurman, a technology journalist with a reputation for accurate consumer electronics scoops. Citing one source, Gurman reports that high-grade speakers in the new product “will make the gadget sound much better than current Echo devices.”
The company doesn’t disclose its Echo sales figures, but a recent report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated that the retail giant has sold 5.1 million of the smart speakers in the U.S. since it debuted two years ago. The company said the best-selling item on Amazon.com on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday was its Echo Dot smart speaker, which was available for $39.99 as part of Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals.
A variety of third-party hardware makers are also building Alexa-enabled devices, including smart touchscreen intercom maker Nucleus, in which Amazon led a $5.6 million investment earlier this year.