Amazon revolutionized the smart home market when it introduced the Echo in 2014, going on to introduce an entire family of Alexa-equipped smart speakers over the next several months. Now, the company is gearing up to introduce yet another family member to the Echo line, and it sounds like it’ll be a lot like Apple’s upcoming HomePod.
According to Engadget, Amazon is developing a new Echo “that will improve on the first speaker in practically every way.” That includes a revamped design with rounded edges and, most importantly, improved sound quality, which has long been the Echo’s biggest weakness. A source told Engadget the device will include several tweeters, allowing the device’s sound to better fill a room.
Additionally, the device will feature improved microphone technology so the device can better hear commands. The source didn’t provide any details as to how Amazon will go about doing this, though Engadget suggests the company may focus on making improvements to the software and acoustic modeling, which is how the Google Home is so good at picking up voice commands.
Considering the original Echo’s age, it’s no surprise to hear Amazon may (finally) be working on a follow-up. And it’s perfect timing, too, especially with Apple’s HomePod on the horizon.
With an array of Alexa-equipped devices in its arsenal, the prospect of an Echo with improved sound quality is certainly tantalizing. The Dot is great for setting timers and alarms, while the Show is cool for its display. However, neither feature robust sound quality, so there’s an opportunity for improvement.
Engadget’s source didn’t provide details about how much the new Echo will cost or when it’ll be available. At $179, the Echo is a bit pricey for a gadget that was released in 2014. Hopefully, Amazon can keep the price competitive while offering a much-improved experience.