Google Home With Touchscreen Display Spotted In The Official Google App
Google has been battling with Amazon in the smart speaker space since launching the Google Home. Google Home was the only smart speaker made by Google until 4th of October when it launched a new variant of the smart speaker, the Google Home Mini. It is speculated that the Google Home Mini was launched to compete with the inexpensive Amazon Echo Dot and had the same price as well (US $49). Amazon recently launched the Echo Show, which is a smart speaker with a touchscreen display and it appears that Google is working on a touchscreen smart speaker as well, as found by Android Police.
This seems to corroborate with a report from TechCrunch in September which suggested that Google was working on a table top smart screen device codenamed ‘Manhattan’ which would compete with the Amazon Echo Show. A deep study into the the APK of 7.14.15 beta version of the Google app found references to multiple on-display features such as notifications, YouTube video playback, photo galleries, Google Maps with business listings and more. The code throughout the app references “Quartz” that operates using voice commands.
The reference to Quartz can be found in many strings
<activity android:name=”com.google.android.apps.gsa.monet.quartz.QuartzMonetActivity” android:exported=”false” android:process=”:search” android:taskAffinity=”” android:theme=”@style/Quartz.TransparentNavBar” />
The reference of Quartz suggests that Google intends it for kitchen use as the study of the app points to a screen that can be used to display recipes and timers. The weather function referenced in Quartz offers 32 different dedicated icons showing everything from a sunny day to blizzards and hurricanes.
Google has an array of smart home devices ranging from smart speakers to wireless streaming devices like the ChromeCast. Coming up with a touchscreen smart speaker to compete with the Echo Show makes sense for Google and make full use of its AI and software integration. Also, the “Quartz” will play YouTube videos, unlike the Echo Show.