Google might be building a tabletop smart screen to take on the Amazon Echo Show, says TechCrunch, citing unnamed sources. The company might be considering doling out new products to stay relevant versus Amazon, which has released a slew of new Echo devices lately.
According to TechCrunch, Google has code-named its device “Manhattan,” and the screen size will be similar to that of the Echo Show. One of the sources that TechCrunch talked to reportedly got the information directly from a Google employee. The Google Manhattan device will support YouTube, Google Photos, Google Assistant and video calling. Further, the new device will act as a smart hub that can control the Nest thermostat and other smart home devices.
TechCrunch notes that the search giant was previously working on devices with big screen sizes to take on full-sized televisions, but now, it is focusing on the Google Manhattan device. Prior to the launch of the Echo Show, Google was reportedly aiming for a release date of mid-2018, but now, it is planning to get the Google Manhattan out before the end of this year.
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Google is undeniably feeling pressure to stay in the competition after Amazon registered a big lead in the smart speaker market. To increase its lead further, Amazon threw out a big surprise this week by releasing six new hardware products. Amazon released the Echo Mini with a price tag of $99, a larger Echo Plus with a smart hub, and an Echo Spot alarm clock for the nightstand. Amazon also unveiled the $70 Fire TV with 4K and HDR support, buttons to play games on the Echo and a device through which Echo can make calls, according to The Verge.
Amazon may be leading the race, but Google has a powerful factor on its side. Unlike Amazon, Google has a mobile platform, and therefore, its assistant is essentially mobile rather than confined inside the house. It remains to be seen how much Google can leverage its mobile platform.
Meanwhile, rumors are abuzz that Google is working on the Google Home Max and Google Home Mini. Sources told 9to5Google that the Google Max will have a premium design using high-end components. Although there is not much clarity on what “premium” actually means, it is probable that the Google Home Max will be metal instead of plastic.
Google is also reportedly working on the Home Mini to compete with the Amazon Echo Dot. Almost a week ago, a Federal Communications Commission listing for a “Streaming media service” was noticed under Google’s model code (“A4RH0ME”). Although not much is mentioned in the filing, it does say that the Home Mini will support 2.4GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy. Although not as loud as the Google Home or Home Max, the Home Mini would be perfect for someone who wants a smart home controller. In terms of affordability, the Home Mini would be a good fit for those looking to have a smart speaker in every room.
Google has yet to make any official announcement about when these products will be launched. However, 9to5Google states that the release date could be October 4. Strategically, Google might plan the release date for before the year’s end, as Apple’s HomePod is set for release in December.