Google is reportedly gearing up to launch a smart speaker with a display just in time for the holiday selling season.
The Nikkei Asian Review, citing an industry source, reported Google is aiming to ship around three million units during the first round. The product is expected to be similar to Amazon’s Echo Show, and if it was launched, would enable Google to have a range of smart speakers that run its voice-activated digital assistant technology. The report noted that Google announced a speaker with a smart display with partners, but this will mark the first product that will roll out in the U.S. from Google with the display. According to the report, while the speaker will be focused on voice commands, it should be able to play YouTube videos, check users’ calendars and view maps. Google declined to comment on its new hardware products plan.
Google has been pushing further into video, announcing in July that Google Assistant can now start a video call on its Duo service. According to a report from the Android Police at the time, with Google Assistant on their smartphone, users can now say “video call contact_name” and the assistant will reply, saying it’s making a video call using Duo. If a user doesn’t have the app installed or if the contact doesn’t have Duo, Hangouts might be utilized instead. The report noted that the feature is still in the process of being rolled out, and it might require a certain server-side switch from Duo, Google app or Play Services. It might also only work in certain locations.
This is just the latest boost in Google Assistant’s features. Last month, Google announced the launch of Continued Conversation. “For the Google Assistant to have a natural conversation, it should be able to understand when it’s being spoken to and should be capable of responding to several requests during an interaction,” wrote Jaclyn Konzelmann, product manager of Google Assistant. “We’re taking another step forward in making your interactions with the Google Assistant more natural with Continued Conversation.”