The device would still operate using Amazon's voice-activated Alexa software, but would have a large screen to make the weather, news and other items easily accessible. The screen will be able to tilt upwards and packs better speakers than the current Echo models, according to Bloomberg.
The new Echo device is expected to be pricier than the Dot, Tap and Echo speakers, which go for $50, $130 and $150, respectively. The new device will use a version of the Fire OS, the software that runs Amazon's Fire tablets and Fire TV set-top box, the sources said, according to Bloomberg.
A touch-based device might seem like somewhat of a step backward, however, with all the buzz around voice activated technology, said Werner Goertz, an analyst at market research firm Gartner. Plus, Amazon's Alexa software isn't exactly a "match made in heaven" for its Fire OS, Goertz noted.
The Fire OS is currently optimized for use on its Fire HD8 tablet, which makes it operate somewhat clumsily since the HD8 is on par with most e-readers, Goertz said.
That said, a touchscreen voice assistant would help with tasks that require more complex processes, such as ordering a plane ticket.
"If you think of a tablet that provides a use-case where multiple options are given, tactile would add to that," Goertz noted. "Voice is not as good at that."