Amazon may be taking its Echo smart home devices to another level if a recently published rumor is true. In a possible bid to move on from the traditional tabletop smart speaker, the retail giant may be working on a new touchscreen Echo device that will mount to a wall. It could be Amazon’s largest Alexa-enabled touchscreen device, and reportedly would serve as a command center for all your smart devices and connected accounts.
According to people familiar with the plans who spoke to Bloomberg, the Echo device is the pet project of the company’s Lab126 hardware division. Details are sparse, but the unit reportedly will feature a large touchscreen and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Owners will be able to use the device to view upcoming events, play music, and control their smart home devices like lights, locks, and doorbells. It also will include a camera and microphone for videoconferencing.
Lab126 is reportedly testing out different units with displays of either 10 inches or 13 inches. The 13-inch screen would be Amazon’s largest Echo device with a display, while a 10-inch screen would match that of the company’s existing Echo Show. Because it will be wall-mounted, the command center will be thinner than the Echo Show, said the anonymous sources.
Customers who purchase this Echo command center would get white-glove installation on their wall of choice. Amazon would send a team of professional installers who would mount the device securely onto the preferred wall and guide the owners through a quick tutorial. Pricing is not yet known, but those in the know claim the unit could retail for between $200 and $250. Depending on the progress of testing and development, Amazon may launch the Echo command center by the end of 2021. It also may wait and launch the Echo product later in 2022, possibly right before the holiday shopping season.
Wall-mounted smart devices aren’t new — just look at the Google Nest Mini. Amazon’s potential offering is certainly ambitious, so it will be interesting to see if it can become a practical element in the home. We reached out to Amazon for clarification about this potential device and will update this story when we hear back.