Amazon dominates the smart speaker market that it pretty much created when it launched the first Amazon Echo a few years ago. But the company is facing increased competition from Google, Apple, and others. So it’s no wonder the company has expanded its Echo lineup in recent years (there are now 4 Echo speaker models — if you count the Kids Edition as its own model — and 3 Echo smart displays).
So what’s next? According to a report from Bloomberg a model that offers higher-quality sound.
Right now you can play music through an Amazon Echo Dot, Echo, or Echo Plus. But you won’t necessarily get a lot of bass unless you connect external hardware like an Echo Sub.
Basically Amazon has focused on functionality and affordability over audio quality.
Meanwhile Apple took pretty much the opposite approach with its HomePod smart speaker. Google offers options ranging from the Echo Dot-like Google Home Mini to the HomePod-like Google Home Max. And wireless speaker maker Sonos also offers smart speakers powered by Google Assistant and Alexa.
On the one hand, Amazon could leave it to partners like Sonos to cover the high-end space. As long as you’re using Alexa, Amazon’s happy, right? But the fact that Sonos speakers can also use Google’s rival voice assistant probably helps explain why Amazon is trying to develop its own alternative.
Details about the specs and launch date are scarce. Bloomberg says the new Echo is still in the prototype stage, with some models featuring at least four tweeters, among other things.
Bloomberg also reports that Amazon is continuing to work on a robot with Alexa voice assistant features that was first reported on last year. But it’s unlikely that the robot will be released this year, if it ever comes to market at all.