Amazon is reportedly working on an Alexa-powered soundbar and wall-mounted Echo

The Verge - Fri Sep 24 12:38

What’s next for Amazon’s family of Alexa-powered devices? A little bit of everything, according to a new report from Bloomberg News, which has a great overview of products the company is reportedly working on.

The e-commerce giant has never been afraid of throwing products at the wall to see what sticks, and its plans certainly seem to follow this ideology. Indeed, they even include a new big-screen Echo device that can be mounted on walls. Very appropriate.

Here’s what Amazon has in the hopper, according to Bloomberg:

  • Wall-mounted Echo: Following the launch of the display-equipped Echo Show line, Amazon is supersizing the screen with a “roughly 15-inch display.” The device is designed to be either mounted on the wall or placed on a stand and would serve all the usual Echo functions, as well as acting as a control panel for smart home devices. It’s also reportedly going to be kitchen-friendly — for watching recipes or Netflix while you cook.
  • Alexa-powered soundbars: Amazon has reportedly been working on an Alexa-equipped soundbar with an integrated camera, designed to make video calls easier in the home, as with Facebook’s Portal devices.
  • Second-generation Echo Auto. Not many details here, but Bloomberg says an updated Echo Auto “will have a new design and may be able to charge a user’s device with inductive technology.” We were not fans of the original Echo Auto, which was a better Bluetooth adapter and speakerphone than it was an actual navigation tool.
  • Echo robot woes: Bloomberg was first to report that Amazon was working on a mobile Echo device with a display that is supposed to follow users around the home. But it seems the product’s future is in jeopardy. “The robot has drawn concerns over its viability from staff,” says Bloomberg. A report earlier this year from Insider noted similar issues. “People are very skeptical — we’re worried it could turn into another Fire Phone,” said one source.
  • Karaoke with Alexa: I’m including this one, but it unfortunately seems like it’s not a goer. “The company has explored building an Alexa-powered karaoke microphone codenamed Jackson and planned to release the device this year. But the team working on that product has been disbanded,” said Bloomberg. For shame.

As ever with rumors like these, any or all of these products could fail to make it out the door, but Bloomberg’s rumor roundup certainly seems plausible, not least because of Amazon’s eclectic approach to new products.

Remember that the company sells not only its mainstream Echo and Echo Dot devices, but also various Echo Show units (with screens), the Echo Studio (better sound), the Echo Spot (an alarm clock), and oddities like the Ring Always Home Cam — a security drone that flies around your house (though this has yet to be released after it was announced last year). A soundbar or larger screen sound quite tepid by comparison.