Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is prepping a brand new Alexa-enabled voice controlled speaker device with a tiltable touchscreen for early next year, say people familiar with the matter.
According to a Bloomberg report, the new device will capitalize on Amazon’s existing voice recognition technology while also providing additional functionality:
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 to two people familiar with the matter. This will make it easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and news, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a product that has yet to be announced.
The device is apparently aimed at kitchen use, where users can access recipes and other information that can be displayed and interacted with on-screen as well as via audio. The unique platform could be announced as soon as the first quarter of 2017.
Amazon’s current lineup of voice-activated Echo speakers have sold more than 5 million units since they were first launched in 2014, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Once a small niche space, the home speaker device market has exploded recently, with Google’s recent Home speaker launch and Apple reportedly looking into similar moves.
Amazon shares were mostly flat at $766.70 in Tuesday morning trading. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 13.59%, versus an 8.23% return from the S&P 500 index during the same timeframe.