A deep dive into the code of a new version of the Google app by AndroidPolice supports rumors of a potential new Google Home device with a touchscreen. A TechCrunch report from September said Google was working on building a table-top smart-screen device codenamed “Manhattan” that could be a competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show. The APK teardown of 7.14.15 beta version of the Google app found references to multiple on-display features including notifications, interactive timers, weather forecasts, YouTube video playback, a basic web browser, photo galleries, Google Maps with business listings, a customizable home screen, and more.
The code throughout the app references “Quartz” that operates using voice commands. It suggests that Google intends Quartz for kitchen use as the teardown points to a screen that can be used to display recipes and timers. Quartz also has a pair of specific YouTube layouts: a video viewer and a browser. The weather function referenced in Quartz offers 32 different dedicated icons showing everything from a sunny day to blizzards and hurricanes.
AndroidPolice cautions that Quartz could reference a touch screen device, or it could be a software component that interacts with a touch screen device. Earlier this year, Google demonstrated Google Home’s ability to cast information screens to televisions.
Google already has an array of home devices including smart speakers and its media streaming Chromecast. It makes sense for it to develop a smart screen that competes with the YouTube-less Amazon Echo Show as a visual hub for the home. TechCrunch said that it should arrive by mid-2018 at the latest.