The new device, which is expected to be announced as early as Tuesday, will also allow users to make internet-based telephone calls, according to these people, setting the speaker up to be core to a home’s communications.
The device, photos of which leaked last week, will have a 7-inch screen and be able to visually summon answers to verbal questions. It will likely ship next month at a cost of over $200. Currently the Amazon Echo is selling for $149.99 discounted from $179.99.
Notably, the WSJ also says Amazon is planning a broader rollout of telephone services for its Echo devices within the next few weeks.
Calling capabilities may be rolled out in stages, one of the people said, for example starting as an intercom within the house between Echo devices, or between Echo owners. Because the capabilities are internet based, it isn’t expected to require a SIM card or other mobile phone technology.
The announcement comes as competition in the Home Automation market is heating up. Earlier today, Microsoft and Harman announced the Harman Kardon Invoke personal assistant speaker with Cortana and Apple is rumored to be unveiling its own Siri based device as early as WWDC.
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