Amazon’s Echo line of products powered by the Alexa voice service has ballooned since the first Echo was unveiled in 2014. Now there’s the Echo Dot, Echo Look, and Echo Show. And this week the company launched the Echo Spot, 2nd-gen Echo, and Echo Plus, among other things.

Google, meanwhile, has… Google Home.

But that could change soon. We already have a pretty good idea that Google plans a smaller, cheaper smart speaker with Google Assistant, cleverly called Google Home Mini. Now there are multiple reports suggesting the company is also working on a model with a 7 inch touchscreen display.

Basically, this would be Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo Show. It’s said to be a smart speaker that you can interact with by voice… but it also support Google apps and services including Google Cast, Google Photos, voice and video calling (perhaps with Duo?) and YouTube, as well as third-party services such as Netflix.

Gee, I wonder why Google killed support for YouTube on Amazon’s Echo Show this week.

9to5Google and TechCrunch both report that they received tips about the upcoming device from two different sources. Odds are that both sites’ sources are the same… and Google hasn’t said anything publicly about the device. There also have been any leaked pictures. So for now it’s best to think of this Google Home with a 7 inch display as a rumored device rather than a leaked one. But it certainly seems plausible.

Amazon has been leading the way in the voice controlled smart speaker/appliance space for a few years now, and Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all playing catch up in their own ways. Until one of those companies figures out a way to potentially leapfrog past Amazon, the obvious move is to at least try to match the company’s product lineup.

According to the tips, it’s unclear if the new device, codenamed “Manhattan” will be ready to launch this year. So I don’t know if we’ll hear anything about it during Google’s hardware event on October 5th. But we will probably hear about new Pixel smartphones, the Google Home Mini, and some other devices, possibly including a new Pixelbook laptop.

 

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7 replies on “Reports: Google developing a smart speaker with a 7 inch display (to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show)”

    1. You can already use Google Assistant on a phone. But you don’t get far-field voice detection that lets you use it from across the room, decent speakers, etc.

      Amazon’s shown that even though smart speakers do a lot of the same things as phones, there’s a market for standalone devices that you use around the home. Google wants in on that. It remains to be seen whether anyone else wants in on Google’s version.

      1. Exactly. It may seem counter-intuitive — a tablet could be made to do everything a smart speaker does and more — but that’s not what consumers want. They already have their smartphones as their personal screens, they just want something that’s always there, part of the furniture, and that they can interact with without tapping and swiping on a screen.

        This is really the next stage in evolution of personal computing. The shift from dedicated computing devices to a more natural interaction with computer systems — or, let’s face it, the cloud — will continue apace. One day, we’ll won’t be tapping icons or clicking links, we’ll be having natural conversations with our own personal digital assistant, or avatar.

    2. That was my thought when I first heard about the Amazon Echo. How wrong I was (said the person who know owns three of them).

    3. The difference is that these speakers are part of the furniture. Once installed, it just sits there, responding to voice commands. Not only do old tablets and phones not have the same quality of microphone or speaker, their mobility is actually a negative in many cases. In households of more than one person, they are going to be picked up and taken elsewhere, rendering them useless in their primary function, especially when they get lost under the bed or down the back of the sofa.

  1. Just give us an updated Nexus 7 with hardware that will prevent the battery from degrading from being constantly plugged in and always on and listening, but becomes a full fledged tablet when unplugged and you’ll sell these things by the truckload.

    1. Except, if they could sell them by the truckload, they would already be doing it. it’s easy to underestimate the amount of R&D and user testing that a company the size of Google does, and it’s easy to conflate you personal wants and desires with the wants and desires of the buying public. Google has invested a hell of a lot of money in both tablet and smart speaker technology. There’s no way they haven’t tested combining the two already, more than once.

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