Amazon’s next Echo could challenge HomePod on audio quality

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
An Amazon Echo for audiophiles? Yes please!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo is annihilating Apple’s HomePod when it comes to smart speaker sales. But Jeff Bezos’ retail giant clearly knows a great idea when it sees one.

According to a new report, Amazon is developing a new Echo device that will measure up more favorably to Apple’s audiophile HomePod.

The new device will launch “by next year.” The current prototype Amazon has developed includes four internal tweeters. That’s next to the seven in the HomePod.

Apple’s smart speaker approach has won it all kinds of plaudits in terms of audio quality. With Amazon’s streaming music service now outpacing Apple Music, due to the number of Echo devices, this move makes sense for Amazon.

New models, new customers

Just like what happened with smartphones, I expect that the longer smart speakers are around, the more money people will be happy to spend on them. That’s because they go beyond the initial novelty use case of a device like the Echo Dot into something people are comfortable to spend more cash on.

At present, the smart speaker market in the U.S. and Europe is a two horse race between Google and Amazon. In my experience, Google’s devices are smarter. However, Amazon has been able to retain a lead in many places due to its willingness to constantly innovate. Variations like the Echo Show, which boasts a screen, and this high-end audiophile version will probably never sell in the quantities of the Echo Dot. But they all appeal to different sorts of customers. They also rob Amazon’s rivals of their unique selling points.

An Amazon home robot?

Bloomberg‘s report also suggests that Amazon is developing an Alexa-equipped “home robot.” This will follow users around the home, and feature an array of cameras. From the relative lack of information, I assume that this project is in its relative infancy.

Which smart speaker, if any, do you own? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.