Google is working on its own version of the Amazon Echo Show, according to a report from Techcrunch that details plans to bring a device with an integrated touch screen and speaker to market. The device, internally code-named “Manhattan,” reportedly also doubles as a smart home hub.
The device is said to feature a screen about the size of that of the Echo Show, which ships with a 7-inch touch screen. It is meant to offer access to the Google Assistant, as well as YouTube, Google Photos and video calling.
Techcrunch is reporting that Google initially planned to release the device next year, but that the company pushed to accelerate this schedule after Amazon released the Echo Show in May. However, at this point, it seems unclear whether the company is going to make the deadline to release it for this year’s holiday season, or push a release to next year.
Google has been working hard on adapting its Google Assistant to work with TV-like screens, which could help the company to add it to an Echo Show-like device as well. In May, Google demonstrated an integration of the Assistant with Chromecast, displaying visual information in response to voice queries. And this week, it brought the Google Assistant to the Android TV-powered Nvidia Shield streaming device.
What Google has been missing its a dedicated smart home hub that helps consumers control internet-connected devices around their home, and also bridges multiple wireless networking protocols used by connected light bulbs, thermostats and similar devices. Google integrated some of that technology into its OnHub routers, but never actually turned those capabilities on. Amazon on the other hand just introduced a new version of the Echo speaker that doubles as a smart home hub.