Amazon's secretive hardware unit, Lab126, is working on an Alexa-powered display that resembles a tablet, according to a report today from The Wall Street Journal. Described only as having a "tablet-like computer screen," the new gadget would nonetheless be controllable with a user's voice if, say, they were in the middle of cooking and had hands covered in flour, the report posits. It's unclear what shape the device would come in, and if it will contain a touchscreen. It's known internally as "Knight," the WSJ report adds.
It's not surprising that Amazon would continue to invest heavily in its Alexa assistant. The company has sold around 3 million Alexa-powered Echo speakers, according to analyst estimates. It's done so by quietly working — seemingly from the sidelines — on making Alexa devices more attractive for everyday consumers than smart home products from Alphabet-owned Nest and Samsung-owned SmartThings. Alexa, through frequent software updates, has also grown powerful enough to compete against Apple's Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft's Cortana.
Amazon's Alexa has become a powerful force in the smart home market
Earlier this year, Amazon released two cheaper spinoff Echo products, the Amazon Tap and the Echo Dot. The Tap, a modest Bluetooth speaker with limited Alexa functionality, is meant to appeal to music-listeners who want voice control on the go. The Dot, on the other hand, lets you pay $79 to put a hockey puck-sized Alexa device anywhere in the home. (It also lets you imbue a "dumb" speaker with voice controls.) Both devices illustrate Amazon's vision to let consumers fulfill every household need with Amazon.com products and services, by way of Alexa. Releasing yet another product, this one apparently designed for the kitchen, seems like a logical next step in Amazon's smart home invasion.