By: Nick Gambino

Another day another rumor but it seems this one has some validity to it. According to Bloomberg the Amazon Echo is getting a welcome touchscreen addition in 2017.

This is an apparent move to edge out Google Home and anything Apple has up its sleeve keeping the popular Amazon Echo on top.

Up until now the Echo has merely worked based off the sound of your voice which activates the digital assistant, Alexa. The touchscreen will supposedly measure about 7 inches. “The latest Amazon speaker will be larger and tilt upwards so the screen can be seen when it sits on a counter and the user is standing,” said one person familiar with the project.

If designed properly this may prove to be a hit but if it becomes intrusive or bulky they may have some detractors. One of the appealing aspects of the Echo is its ease of use and relative unintrusiveness (if that’s a word).

Not only is the new voice-activated device getting a face-lift and added technology but it seems they are also working on improving the speaker itself. After all, if the majority of the product is a speaker then you want to make sure it’s high quality.

One of the unnamed sources states that high-grade speakers would be introduced into the Echo making it sound a lot better. They’re also apparently testing another new feature which I don’t know how I feel about. The feature will allow you to pin physical items to the skin of the Echo kind of like magnets on a fridge.

Think of your Amazon device covered in flimsy photos. I don’t know about that. I prefer the slickness of the design to be front and center, not kludged up.

Amazon won’t deep-six their current line of Alexa-enabled devices like the Dot, Tap and the non-screen version of the Echo. They’ll keep selling those while the new device will be priced higher. As of now we’re referring to it as the Echo with a touchscreen but it may not even carry the Echo moniker.

Apparently we can expect an official announcement from Amazon sometime in the first quarter of 2017.

In the meantime, I’m going to spend my time watching this video of the Amazon Echo and Google Home speaking to each other on an endless loop.

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