Google may release a digital display smart speaker in time for the holidays

When it comes time to do your holiday shopping later this year, you might end up throwing a new Google speaker into your shopping cart.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Google is planning to release a smart speaker that comes equipped with a digital display, just in time for the holidays. The product will likely resemble Amazon’s Echo Show, so the release will put Google in higher competition with other companies such as Amazon and Alibaba, which also occupy the market for voice-controlled smart speakers. With the addition of a display, the upcoming new model is also expected to allow users to watch videos and view maps.

The new speaker will join Google’s existing range of smart speakers, utilizing the voice assistant Google Assistant. The lineup currently includes the Google Home, the Home Mini, and the Home Max. The Home and Home Mini are often compared to Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, and the more high-end Home Max is considered to rival Apple’s HomePod speaker.

“Google targets to ship some 3 million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen,” an industry source told the Nikkei Asian Review. “It’s an aggressive plan.”

In 2017, 35 million speakers were purchased around the world, with Amazon products taking up 63 percent of the market and Google occupying 32 percent. However, those numbers took a turn during the first quarter of 2018, during which Amazon’s share of the market fell down to 28 percent, and Google’s increased to 36 percent. Companies like Alibaba, Apple, and Xiaomi occupied the remaining percentage.

According to Joey Yen, an analyst at research company IDC, there is a reason that Google is continuing to expand its focus on hardware. Not only is the company building its lineup of smart speakers, but Google also took over a design team of 2,000 employees from Taiwanese smartphone company HTC last year.

“It could be easier to learn users’ behaviors, experiences and data in a more direct way if they could control the end-devices that go into people’s homes,” Yen said.

This upcoming speaker isn’t the only new technology Google is planning to release. Reports indicate that Foxconn is helping the search engine giant manufacture a new Pixel phone, to be released around October.