Hi-Tech

Amazon Echo successor apparently in the works

Amazon Echo successor apparently in the works

A source who saw a working model of this so-called Amazon Echo 2 spilled the details to Engadget, and the smart speaker sounds to be a significant upgrade over the two-year-old Echo now on the market that also comes in a smaller package. The new speaker should be able to deliver better sound thanks to the addition of several tweeters. That's nothing compared to the HomePod's $350 price tag, but it has since been undercut by Google's $130 Home and, more to the point, the $50 Dot, which is now the best selling Echo product.

The next generation of smart speakers are likely to focus on improving sound quality, it has been claimed, with a second generation Amazon Echo expected to be the first to showcase this change. All of the older Echo models got a price cut, but the original's was by far the deepest, at 50-percent, which serves the dual objective of getting Alexa into a lot more homes and, perhaps, clearing out some of those warehouse shelves to make room for something new. It's possible that Amazon could make improvements to software and acoustic modeling for better voice recognition.

As influential as the original Echo has been, it's not aging gracefully against smaller, sleeker and cheaper competition like Google Home.




Amazon Echo, launched in June 2015, is a very popular speaker that features a voice-controlled virtual assistant. Even as an Echo devotee myself, I'm not a fan of its large, cylindrical footprint. The current Echo sells for $180 (although has been on sale at various discounts across the year). For example, the seven microphones compete with Apple HomePod's six and Google Home's two mikes, but it looks the Amazon Echo 2 would get more.

The $349 HomePod is set to arrive in December. Representatives from Amazon didn't return requests for comment.


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