The home automation and virtual assistant market continues to heat up after Amazon announced several new devices this week. To try to keep up, word is out that Google has a project in the works to release a competitor to the Amazon Echo Show. The Echo Show differs from other devices in that it includes a screen to display images and a camera for video-calling purposes. Google’s project to produce a similar piece of hardware is code-named Manhattan and sources indicate there is considerable pressure on the team to release it to market before the end of 2017.
Sources indicate the Manhattan device should be released with a screen in the 7-inch range. Apparently Google was hoping to incorporate the tech into something more akin to a full size television, but the reality of needing to keep up with Amazon in the market for home-based devices forced them to go for something much less radical. Those same market pressures pushed the original launch date target from mid-2018 into the current year.
Recently Google moved to pull YouTube off Amazon’s Echo Show and news of this new device may be one of the dots explaining why despite Google’s claim that it was related to a violation of the terms of service. Amazon complained about that move saying there was no “technical reason for that decision” despite their own moves to do things like not make Amazon Prime available for casting on Chromecast devices.
In addition to the work to get the hardware together and running properly, getting a device to market means Google has to work with several partners to make their platforms and content available on the device. Google is hoping the use of the Android operating system will make this a little bit easier for developers who may already have Android enabled packages. Likewise, by serving as a hub device Google has to make sure the Manhattan device is capable of supporting things like light bulbs, thermostats, security cameras, appliances, and all the other hardware being offered for home automation.
Of course, Google likely sees such a device as a way to get additional exposure for their own products and platforms. That could include things like Duo and Hangouts for video calling or Google Photos which could help drive the device as a virtual picture frame when in standby.
Are you looking for a “smart screen” home automation hub similar to the Amazon Echo Show?