It Looks Like Google's Making its Own Echo Show Competitor

By Tom Pritchard on at

Amazon is king of the smart speaker game, there's no denying it. Not only did it just announce a slew of new products, tech companies have been scrambling to make their own versions of the Echo. Now most of them have Echo-like devices they're moving on. Moving onto copying the Echo Show.

According to sources speaking to TechCrunch, Google is working on its own Echo Show competitor. The sources claim that the project, codenamed Manhattan, will involve a device with a similar size to the 7-inch display currently found on the Echo Show. Both sources claim that the device will act as a hub for smart home devices, plus YouTube, Google Assistant, Google Photos and video calling.

The sources also claim that Google had been working on a larger device designed to compete with TVs, but has refocused its efforts on the Manhattan project device. The device was originally supposed to arrive in the middle of 2018, but the sources claim pressure from the Echo Show is forcing Google to try and have it ready before the year is up. It remains to be seen how successful that will be.

The device will also run Android, which should mean adding third-party apps is fairly simple. TechCrunch claims that one service Google engineers are particularly keen on is Netflix, though simply having YouTube would be a step up from what the Echo Show has to offer.

I can't help but wonder why these devices need to be made in the first place. Why do people need dedicated touchscreens for Echo/Google Home services? We literally carry portable computers around in our pockets every day, and they can do everything these devices have been shown to do and more. Heck, now that Alexa is available on Fire tablets, why can't you plug in a speaker and use that as a much cheaper alternative?

Granted I'm not such a big fan of the Echo anyway, but adding a screen to a dedicated virtual assistant box seems like creating devices for the sake of it. And now it looks like Amazon won't be the only company trying to flog that tech.

If anyone can think of a reason why these things are actually worthwhile, please let me know. Because I can not think of any. [TechCrunch]

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