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Your wall could be the next battleground for smart speakers, with Amazon reportedly working on a wall-mountable Echo with a screen, alongside other new Alexa-based devices.
Amazon is holding a launch event on September 28, which is almost certain to introduce new Echo hardware. In a report about Amazon's Lab126 division, it seems that the online retailer is working on alternatives to its existing Echo device range.
An echo with a 15-inch display may be on the way, according to internal documents seen by Bloomberg, one that could be placed on a wall or stood on a surface using a stand. Intended as a smart home control panel for device control, the codenamed "Hoya" device will also apparently provide data on calendar appointments and package delivery notifications.
To go with the large screen, Amazon is also planning to allow the device to use video streaming apps, as well as a kitchen-focused service range. This allegedly includes viewing recipes on the screen or watching cooking videos.
Amazon does already have its Echo Show line of devices with built-in screens, but none of the models are capable of being mounted on a wall.
Its main Echo speaker line won't see many major revisions in 2021, the report claims, with major updates expected to occur in 2022.
On top of the existing Halo fitness tracker, Amazon is apparently looking into variants intended for children and senior citizens, incorporating fall detection and activity monitoring. However, this is apparently still in its early stages of development.
Health-related services and sensors are being planned for incorporation into other more typical smart speaker offerings. The use of ultrasound sensors will apparently be used to track temperature, sleep, snoring, and breathing quality, though development is apparently quite challenging for the team.
Amazon is also looking into creating its own soundbars for TVs, one that could potentially incorporate Alexa with a front-facing camera for video calls.
The retailer is also working closer with car producers like Ford to shift into automotive applications, such as embedding Alexa into vehicles without requiring a paired smartphone.
Amazon already offers an Echo Auto device for use in vehicles, but a second-generation version is in the works, complete with a new design and inductive charging of user devices.