After cutting its teeth as an online bookseller, Amazon has quietly become one of a small handful of trendsetters in the consumer electronics business. The company’s Kindle eBook readers led to a boom in the eReader market, and then Amazon became the only company to contend with Apple’s iPad lineup by offering solid tablets at rock bottom prices. Amazon’s smartphone ambitions were a rare misstep, but that failure helped the company do some soul-searching. The resulting Amazon Echo would end up being one of Amazon’s hottest products ever, sending rival gadget makers scrambling to cook up smart speakers of their own.
Now, a new report suggests Amazon will unveil the Echo Show on Tuesday, the company’s next-generation Alexa device that is unlike anything Amazon has released in the past. Whether it will end up being the next Echo or the next Fire Phone remains to be seen.
UPDATE: The Echo Show is now live on Amazon’s site and available for pre-order. Note that you can save $100 if you order two or more Echo Shows using coupon code SHOW2PACK.
The Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo smart speaker retails for $179.99 (though it happens to be enjoying a rare discount right now on Amazon, cutting the price to just $149.99). For another $50, Amazon customers will seemingly soon be able to opt instead for a next-generation Echo Show, which marries the functionality of the Amazon Echo smart speaker with a 7-inch touchscreen.
We saw the device leak for the first time last week, and subsequent reports have painted a more thorough picture of the Echo Show. While Amazon’s full intentions are still unknown, The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that the Echo Show will include a front-facing camera for video calling. Odds are reasonably good that the screen on the Echo Show will also be able to play videos. And since the device looks like it was designed as a stationary hub of sorts, some entertainment features, productivity features, and even a web browser could be baked in as well.
Now, AFTVnews has published what appears to be a photo of an internal Amazon slide that offers key details surrounding the new Echo Show. If the information thereon is accurate, the Echo Show will be available for pre-order beginning today, May 9th, for $229.99 in the United States. The slide also says pre-orders will begin shipping next month on Wednesday, June 28th.
None of this is confirmed for the time being, but the details are in line with chatter we’ve heard elsewhere.