Amazon is reportedly working on the Amazon Echo 2, an updated version of its original smart speaker that catapulted the devices into the mainstream.
The Amazon Echo line of devices is largely seen as the market leader in the smart speaker industry. The planned update for the original Amazon Echo will allow it to further widen the gap from competitors such as the Google Home and the upcoming Apple HomePod.
Amazon Echo 2 In The Works
According to a report by Engadget, Amazon is working on a new version of the Amazon Echo, which has not been updated since it was launched more than two years ago.
A source claimed that the Amazon Echo 2 will be an improvement in practically all aspects, with the goal of taking some of the hype away from Apple's HomePod.
The Amazon Echo 2 will be shorter and slimmer, like three or four Amazon Echo Dots placed on top of each other. The new smart speaker will also come with a cloth-like exterior and rounded edges, compared to the currently used plastic shell and flat edges. This will improve the design of the smart speaker to better compete with the aesthetics of the Google Home.
The new Amazon Echo 2 will also sound better, as Amazon is planning to use several tweeters in the updated version compared to one large tweeter and one woofer in the current model. This is likely to eliminate the Apple HomePod's advantage, as it comes with seven tweeters.
Amazon will also apply improvements to the microphone technology of the Amazon Echo 2. While it remains unclear exactly how, but Amazon may introduce hardware innovations to make the smart speaker hear voice commands better.
Amazon is planning to release the Amazon Echo 2 in the fall, before Apple launches the HomePod in December. There is no pricing information yet for the new model, but it will likely remain close to the current price of $180 and far cheaper than the $350 price of Apple's smart speaker.
The Popularity Of The Amazon Echo
Sales for Amazon Echo devices in the recently concluded Amazon Prime Day reached record levels, as halfway through the annual event, sales figures for the smart speakers were already three times higher compared to last year.
Google tried to prevent the flood of new Amazon Echo devices into homes by launching a $99 Google Home bundle on eBay before Amazon Prime Day. It would appear that the move did not help at all.
With the next Amazon Echo geared to simply be better in every way, competitors might be left scratching their heads on how they will catch up with Amazon in the smart speaker race.