01 October, 2017
Amazon has been gradually expanding its range of Echo devices, and it has been possible to make free calls between Alexa-enabled devices for a few months - now Amazon is extending the free calling capability even further.
The device is said to feature a screen about the size of that of the Echo Show, which ships with a 7-inch touch screen. It unlocks a world of learning and discovery that is unique to their generation. While Amazon claimed that Google had not issued any explanation why this had happened, Google told reporters that Amazon's experience was against the YouTube policies. The device, internally code-named "Manhattan", reportedly also doubles as a smart home hub. It looks like it might work the same way as Google Home, with the addition of letting you watch videos, photos, and video chat with friends and family.
The feature, which many missed during Amazon's unveiling of its new line of Amazon Echo products, is a significant upgrade to the Alexa Calling feature that was launched alongside the Amazon Echo Show.
Google originally had planned on launching this device in 2018, but they are trying to fast track the smart home device for release this year.
Manhattan will run a version of Android, which means developers can easily make apps for it. The device, which also enables calls to emergency services and worldwide numbers, connects to a user's existing phone line or VoIP to transform an Amazon Echo product into a speakerphone. It's understandable why Google would want to replicate its success. One could argue that adding a screen to a smart speaker doesn't really bring a lot of value to users.
At least that's how it seems at this point, although nothing has been confirmed yet. Google's Manhattan device needs to have an edge over the Echo Show, and YouTube might just be that edge. But if this will indeed be the case, some will find it hard to justify getting Manhattan over a device like Google Home, especially because of the higher price tag it's expected to come with. Let us know in the comment section below.