Google is working on a new smart speaker equipped with a display panel and is planning to debut the device later this year, in time for the next holiday season and the shopping craze that traditionally accompanies it, Nikkei reports, citing an unnamed industry insider. The product is expected to debut as part of the Google Home range and directly challenge the Amazon Echo Show and similar devices such as the recently launched Lenovo Smart Display. While Google Assistant has already been optimized to power display-equipped speakers, Google has yet to take advantage of that technology on its own.
Even though many of the company's hardware products such as the Chrome OS-powered Pixelbook were introduced more as reference designs for other manufacturers interested in participating in Google's ecosystem than mainstream devices, the company is said to be planning on advertising the display-equipped Home speaker in an extremely aggressive manner and will be targeting an initial shipment of three million units, as per the same report. That's nearly ten times larger than the first series of Amazon's Echo Show gadgets, with the main implication here being that Google wants to quickly get ahead in the smart display race while the market is still in its infancy. While no pricing details have been provided by the source, the ambitious shipment target indicates Google may opt for an aggressive approach of undercutting the $230 Echo Show.
Facebook is also widely rumored to be launching a line of smart displays later this year, though its offerings are expected to be advertised as high-end solutions with steep price tags. Google has yet to set a date for its annual hardware event, though the last two iterations of the happening took place on October 4 and one recent leak suggested the upcoming one will follow suit. If the company is truly aiming to have the device available for purchase by this year's holiday season, it's highly likely to announce it alongside the Pixel 3 flagships, second-generation Pixel Buds, new Pixel-series smartwatches, and the Pixelbook 2, all of which are already expected to debut in early October.