The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon could debut a new touchscreen version of its Echo virtual assistant device as soon as Tuesday.
Citing the always popular “sources familiar with Amazon’s plans,” WSJ says the new device will feature a 7-inch screen and support for video & audio calls via the internet. Of course, the Alexa voice-based assistant will be at the heart of the device.
Rumors about the device gained credence last week, when images said to be of the device popped up on Amazon’s servers. The images were only available for a short period of time, but were available long enough to see a wedge-shaped device which boasted a long screen over an elongated speaker.
The device also appeared to boast a camera, which could be used in the same manner as the company’s recently introduced Echo Look, which is a voice-capable camera that helps users rate their outfits.
The new, so far unnamed, device is said to have been in beta testing for a few months, and is expected to carry a retail price tag of over $200. Currently, Amazon’s flagship Echo Internet-connected speaker/virtual assistant is on sale for $149. The report says shipments could begin in June.
Amazon is also expected to announce telephone services for its lineup of Echo devices, sometime in the coming weeks. Reports indicate the calling system will be Internet-based, and will likely roll out to users in stages, with intercom functionality between Echo devices in a single home, or with other Echo owners being the first piece of the system to roll out.