In brief: Amazon is reportedly working on a higher-end version of its Echo smart home speaker that would allow the company to better compete with similar products focusing on audio quality like Apple’s HomePod and speakers from Sonos.
Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that prototypes of the speaker are wider than current Echo models in order to accommodate additional components including at least four tweeters. It is being developed by Amazon Lab126, the e-commerce giant’s research and development arm.
Amazon’s Echo first went on sale in 2015 and has been a market leader ever since. According to eMarketer, the device will capture 63 percent of the US smart speaker market this year. Apple’s HomePod hasn’t sold as well as Cupertino had hoped, recently prompting the company to lower its price. Google has done quite well for itself with a market share of 31 percent.
Amazon is also reportedly planning a high-fidelity version of its music streaming service, says Music Business Worldwide. The new tier would “mesh better with the new Echo,” we’re told, and could help Amazon target yet another demographic that the competition isn’t focusing on – audiophiles.
Amazon’s Echo range is expected to receive minor updates this fall although it’s unclear when the premium speaker would be announced. Plans for the higher-end Echo haven’t been finalized and could still fall through, Bloomberg cautions. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.