The news that Amazon is reportedly set to launch a new and improved Echo device must have been welcomed by the company’s competitors about as warmly as a football team that has just won the league championship and then revealed they are signing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Amazon already dominates the digital assistant market, but clearly, has no plans to rest on its laurels and it seems another big announcement is in the offing.
What Will The New Echo Include?
Amazon’s Echo has taken the world by storm since its release in 2014. More loyal and tireless than Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred, smarter than Jeeves and about as intrusive as a gnat on the wall, it is a personal assistant which has an ability to perform an outrageous number of useful tasks with its voice interaction system.
The cylindrical shape was also one of its distinguishing features, but the new device is set to have a 7-inch touchscreen and look very different. It is expected to include support for video calling and assist in making internet-based phone calls, in the way that you might use Skype to place calls. The new Echo will also support Alexa voice commands
Doesn’t A Screen Defeat The Purpose?
The absence of the touchscreen was part of the reason why the original Amazon Echo was hailed as such an original and innovative product, as it dispensed with the method which has become part and parcel of daily living when it comes to digital devices. That Amazon now feels a screen is necessary smacks of admitting defeat, but ultimately it makes too much business sense to keep persevering without one.
A screen will allow users to change the default music player or mark off tasks as done, which currently still need to be done via a smartphone. The new device will also have obvious benefits for queries where a visual aid would be helpful, such as a map when asking for traffic directions.
Will This Keep Amazon Ahead?
The imminent launch is sure to keep Amazon ahead of its competitors, but it is only a matter of time before other businesses catch up, as it is such a fledgeling industry. The Echo may account for over 70% of all digital assistant use in the US, according to recent statistics, but Google Home will surely start to make up ground over the next 12 months, along with standalone Siri and Cortana assistants. It will nevertheless be fascinating to see the response to the new Amazon Echo, and eager fans will have their screen-tapping fingers at the ready.