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01 October 2017, 12:30 | Sam Montgomery
Google developing an Amazon Echo Show competitor: Report
Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Samsung made the mistake of focusing on phones or PCs for voice assistants, instead of a shared household device like Alexa.
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This is about to change, as Amazon is letting some developers test out the ability to send sound and light-based notifications to your Amazon Echo. If you want to receive calls from regular numbers, you'll need the new $35 Connect box that Amazon unveiled on Wednesday, which also allows you to use your home telephone number for Echo calls and dial emergency services like 911 or premium rate / global numbers. The new Echo Spot has a display to let you see information. Whatever Google is planning, the company now needs to act quickly since Amazon has already expanded its lineup of Echo devices with the recent announcement of the Echo Spot, Echo Plus and the new Echo Buttons. Google took a difference stance, claiming Amazon's implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates their terms of service and creates a broken user experience. However, with so much at stake, Google needs to provide consumers with a unique selling point and reason to pick its device over the more-established Amazon versions, lest customers be left asking what they did to deserve this flat, flavourless Manhattan.
Multiple unnamed sources told TechCrunch that the device, now known as "Manhattan", will feature a similar size screen to the 7-inch Echo Show. At the moment no price estimates are known. Smart home camera support on Fire TV now works on a range of devices from companies including Arlo, Ring, Nest, and August.
Now it appears the company might be adding a touchscreen to the equation in order to compete with the Amazon Echo Show. Limp said that "tens of millions" of devices include Alexa and that Amazon now employs more than 5,000 people trying to make the assistant even smarter.
Google does not want to be left behind in the segment of devices with integrated screens thought to be the center of the digital home. Google's project to produce a similar piece of hardware is code-named Manhattan and sources indicate there is considerable pressure on the team to release it to market before the end of 2017.
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