New Amazon Echo coming with screen and phone features

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Now the Amazon Echo is selling for $149.99 discounted from $179.99. It is much more than just providing cool immersive 360º omni-directional audio from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and others by giving voice command from the comfort of your seat.

While still far from mass adoption, virtual assistants are becoming more widely used by Americans, according to eMarketer's first forecast on users of digital assistants, such as Siri, and voice-enabled speakers, like Amazon Echo.

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But with these new leaked images that have come out for the Amazon Echo, there is also speculation that Amazon could now be watching you through the graphic user interface.

While firmed-up details on Apple's heavily rumoured Amazon Echo rival have yet to be confirmed, the firm's head of marketing, Phil Schiller, has now hinted that not only could the device be on its way, but it will pack an inbuilt touchscreen. More than 60 million in the United States will use virtual assistants at least once monthly in 2017, the report said. The device would be a direct competitor to a rumored Apple connected speaker which is also expected to include a screen. Google Home is trailing behind with 23.8% market share.

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Previous reports suggested the new Amazon Echo might feature an adjustable display that could tilted according to whether the user was standing or sitting, although the images recently published online suggest the screen will be fixed. "I think voice assistants are incredibly powerful, their intelligence is going to grow, they're gonna do more for us, but the role of the screen is gonna remain very important to all of this", he said. That's a jump of 128.9% over past year.

Google has its Google Assistant, Microsoft its Cortana and Apple its Siri. This included Amazon Echo or Google Home. However, the fact that another smart speaker is already in the works could mean that the company is trying to sell as many Echo speakers as possible before the new product arrives. The Siri-powered smart speaker is described as a premium device that will likely carry a higher price tag than the regular Amazon Echo. During the company's earnings call last month, CFO Brian Olsavsky fielded a question related to monetizing the Echo and said that doing so was "not our primary issue right now".

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