Amazon is developing a higher-quality version of its popular Echo smart speaker, according to a new report today by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

homepod and echo

Prototypes of the cylindrical speaker are wider than the current Echo to squeeze in additional components including at least four tweeters, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter.

The speaker is reportedly being developed to include improved audio to rival Apple's HomePod and other competing speakers on the market. According to Gurman, the Echo has lost some ground to more premium smart speakers that are marketed as offering superior sound.

The Echo, which went on sale in 2015, will grab 63% of the U.S. market this year, according to EMarketer. But it has lost some ground to the Sonos One, Apple Inc. HomePod and Google Home Max -- all of which claim to deliver superior audio. Google now has 31% of the market, while the rest have a combined 12%. The HomePod isn't selling as well as Apple expected, and the company recently dropped the price.

The development of a higher-quality Echo marks a new phase in Amazon's attempt to gain ground in the smart speaker segment. The company has previously introduced halfway-house solutions to improve the audio of the existing cylindrical Echo by offering a standalone subwoofer and connections to link the speakers to a hi-fi stereo system. The Echo range will also receive minor updates this fall, people familiar with the plans told Bloomberg.

Amazon also reportedly plans to launch a hi-fidelity version of its music streaming service by the end of the year.

In addition, Gurman's report includes details on Amazon's effort to ramp up work on its home robot, which has wheels and can be controlled by Alexa voice commands.

People familiar with the project have reportedly described prototypes that are about waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras, but it still isn't clear what purpose the robot would serve.

Amazon originally intended to reveal the robot, known internally as "Vesta," as early as this year, but the machine isn't quite ready for mass production, according to the report.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

PickUrPoison Avatar
65 months ago
Alexa/Echo has the biggest following. It has the most smart home support and has the best offering for streaming/radio since YouTube has returned to the platform.

The only negative, is what I keep on seeing here - "but but privacy!"

Dude. If privacy is such a bother, you can't have a smart home. All these products and services in SOME way take your data.
They’re the same but only different.

For example, Apple anonymizes your requests. otoh, Amazon records your conversations and then a rep will post the “interesting” ones on an internal forum for other Amazon employees to enjoy. Then a couple mouse clicks later, they pop up your account data.

But Amazon definitely “respects your privacy”. Just ask them....
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
65 months ago
Apple has largely lost the smart speaker market and Amazon keeps improving their offerings.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Homepod, but it Siri is definitely inferior
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Manatlt Avatar
65 months ago
Alexa/Echo has the biggest following. It has the most smart home support and has the best offering for streaming/radio since YouTube has returned to the platform.

The only negative, is what I keep on seeing here - "but but privacy!"

Dude. If privacy is such a bother, you can't have a smart home. All these products and services in SOME way take your data.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
waquzy Avatar
65 months ago
Apple has largely lost the smart speaker market and Amazon keeps improving their offerings.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Homepod, but it Siri is definitely inferior
Truth to be told, Alexa is better than Siri but the HomePod sounds better than Echo by a large margin. Therefor HomePod wins
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robjulo Avatar
65 months ago
Uh no......that is a myth to justify the ridiculous HomePod price and not borne out by blind testing.

Hehe, but when it comes to sound it’s HomePod > Sonos
[doublepost=1562934892][/doublepost]

I bet you have never heard of the HomePod, the sound quality blows it out of the water
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Remy149 Avatar
65 months ago
There seems to be more offered for Alexa then Siri, but in all truthfulness I don't have any smart home stuff. I can only comment on Siri vs Alexa and the differences are night and day.
I own a lot of smart home stuff. There is definitely more products available for Alexa however I own both an HomePod and several echos I’ve got free in promotions. Siri and HomeKit is better at controlling scenes and also takes actions faster. Alexa relays every request through the web so there is almost always a long delay between telling the commands and then performing the task. What makes Alexa seem smarter are all the 3rd party skills your allowed to add.
[doublepost=1562932312][/doublepost]
What do you mean by wins? Aren't they competing for marketshare? Seems like HomwPod is the biggest loser.

If they're competing for sound quality, yes, HomePod wins.
If Apple wanted to compete for market share they would have created a sub $50 speaker since that’s what most consumers buy. I’ve got all my echo speakers and my google home mini for free or almost free.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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