Google is said to be developing an Amazon Echo Show competitor complete with a touchscreen, according to a new report by TechCrunch who cites "multiple sources" as having mentioned the upcoming device. By the sounds of it Google's Echo Show-like smart speaker will feature a mashup of some of Amazon's currently available and recently announced Echo products that were unveiled at its Seattle-based hardware event this week. This includes the availability of a touchscreen for displaying content as well as speakers and a mic for interacting with the device through Google Assistant, all things which are available on the Echo Show (though with Alexa for its digital assistant purposes). In addition to these features, Google's product is also said to act as a smart home hub for managing and controlling other smart home products, not too unlike Amazon's recently announced Echo Plus, which will also act as a smart home hub.
The device is said to run "a version of Android" and will have app availability for users, though there was no mention of whether or not it would have Play Store access for installing other applications onto the device. It was however, mentioned that it would come pre-installed with certain apps, such as YouTube and Google Photos, alongside the Google Assistant and video calling features. Though not mentioned, if video calling is included, it could be handled by Duo which is the app that Google has currently been pushing for video communication between Android smartphones and tablets. It's also stated that Google is exploring the idea of other applications being pre-loaded onto the device with Netflix being of particular interest.
The device is said to be codenamed Manhattan internally and come with a screen size that is similar to that of the 7-inch display on the Echo Show, and have a potential launch date of sometime this year, though the rumor points out that initially Google had 2018 in mind for a target launch date so it would be able to make sure everything is lined up that is has planned for the device. On top of all of that Google is also rumored to be looking into service partnerships with at least two outfits for in-home installation, those being Best Buy's Geek Squad and a company named Enjoy. At the moment there's no confirmation on this device actually launching let alone launching sometime this year or early next year, and there is currently no rumored details regarding a price point. One interesting thing to consider is Google's recently reported blocking of YouTube access on the Echo Show, and although it may have nothing to do with the matter, Google launching its own very similar product meant to compete with the Echo Show that has YouTube pre-installed would make a whole lot of sense as to why Google would want to block Amazon's device from offering the same thing, as it would give its product something the Echo Show doesn't have and would help it stay competitive.