If you wish your Amazon Echo was just a little bit more powerful, then you’re in luck. According to Bloomberg, the retail giant has plans to release a new, higher-quality Echo unit. This new Echo is designed to have better audio quality overall, the report states. It’s supposed to be wider than existing models to include more components, including at least four tweeters — a type of speaker than can accurately reproduce high frequencies. Even Amazon knows it’s not all about that bass.
This is in response to a major loss in market share to Google Home Max and other smart speakers, all of which claim to have higher-quality audio output than the Echo units. Although Amazon still claims two-thirds of the smart speaker market, other companies are gaining on them. And this isn’t Amazon’s first time improving the sound quality of the Echo. In the past, Amazon introduced a subwoofer, the Echo Sub, that would produce the lower bass notes the Echo was incapable of creating.
Also according to the Bloomberg report, Amazon intends to launch an improved version of Amazon Music. If the company goes through with this, higher-quality speakers make a natural tie-in for users, but a new Echo is not completely confirmed. Amazon could still ax the project before launch. Bloomberg said that an unnamed Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the project.
On top of possible new Echo units, Amazon has long been rumored to have a “home robot” in the works. The robot was reported by Bloomberg in April of 2018 under the codename “Vesta.” The report says that “people familiar with the project” speculate the robot could serve as a type of mobile Alexa that follows users throughout the home. The robot is supposedly about waist-high and traverses obstacles with an array of cameras, suggesting a navigation system similar to what Tesla uses.
Although no public announcement has been made about the Vesta project, Amazon has reportedly pulled engineers from other projects to work on the Vesta. While the robot might never see the light of day for a variety of reasons, the fact a project like this exists is exciting, though its real-world use remains to be seen. A mobile Alexa might be useful, but the idea of a waist-high robot conjures images of Rosie from the Jetsons — and I for one could use a robot maid.