Rumors are swirling that Amazon could be launching its Echo with a touchscreen as soon as today.
According to TechCrunch, this would be the fifth Echo model to hit the market, joining the just-released Echo Look, a version of the voice assistant with a built-in webcam designed to help a person pick out clothing.
Amazon has reportedly been working on this latest touchscreen model since November 2016 due to Amazon’s growing interest in using a touchscreen to enable Amazon Alexa-powered VOIP phone calls, as well as the ability to stream video from Amazon Prime in the kitchen while making dinner or, as one account suggested, asking Amazon’s Alexa to show the kids what a real kid looks like.
Latest reports say the touchscreen Echo would feature a 7-inch touchscreen display, which answers to verbal questions and features internet-based telephone and video calls. Just last week, several sites posted images of a device they claimed to be the upcoming Echo touchscreen speaker, with mixed reactions. While some praised the capabilities added by the touchscreen, others said the device was ugly and looked dated.
But there’s no denying that the device with the described feature would put Amazon in front of its chief rival: Google Home. In fact, a study conducted by eMarketer says Amazon has 70.6 percent of all voice-enabled speaker users in the U.S. this year — well ahead of Google Home’s 23.8 percent and other, smaller players like Lenovo, LG, Harman Kardon and Mattel, who, combined, only account for 5.6 percent of users.