Amazon Reportedly Developing Echo With Better Sound Quality to Rival Apple HomePod and Other Speakers

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

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.

Article Link: Amazon Reportedly Developing Echo With Better Sound Quality to Rival Apple HomePod and Other Speakers
 

Manatlt

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2013
883
291
London, UK
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.
 

PickUrPoison

macrumors 604
Sep 12, 2017
6,885
8,436
Sunnyvale, CA
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....
 
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Heineken

Suspended
Jan 27, 2018
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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
Siri is fine and it would be selling better if it was available around the world, you know ...
 

heov

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2002
266
665
Truth to be told, Alexa is better than Siri but the HomePod sounds better than Echo by a large margin. Therefor HomePod wins
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.
 
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Remy149

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2016
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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.
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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.
 

KrisLord

macrumors 68000
Sep 12, 2008
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Alexa devices from amazon often sell at ridiculously low prices (I assume at a loss) so I don’t think it’s surprising that they had the largest market share. I paid £10 for my dot.

I had thought they targeted the higher end by having other manufacturers like Sonos add alexa functionality to their devices, so I don’t quite see the need for a premium amazon product.
 

jonnysods

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Sep 20, 2006
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I know that Apple don't want to do this, but a lower price would get way more devices into homes and then people get too hooked into the ecosystem to leave.

Remember the white entry level MacBooks? That's exactly what those were for. Just get a taste and then never leave.
 
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CyberBob859

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2007
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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.
The HomePod is closer to a Sonos One speaker which has Alexa included. That speaker doesn't have the full Alexa functionality of a Echo, but sounds much better than an Echo. The HomePod beats the Sonos One in setup and (IMO) sound quality.

The problem is that Amazon has built Alexa and Echo into a platform in which a whole ecosystem can be developed, while Apple still looks at Siri as a feature on its devices (albeit one that can be personalized by the user with Siri Shortcuts.)
 

waquzy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2013
991
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Leicestershire, UK
You can have both with Sonos....great sound and Alexa (or google hime if you prefer), so Sonos wins.
Hehe, but when it comes to sound it’s HomePod > Sonos
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I have the Echo Plus and I think it sounds very good, especially for $149.
I bet you have never heard of the HomePod, the sound quality blows it out of the water
 
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bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
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Do you really? And you can honestly say hand on your heart that Sonos sounds better?
I think a lot of this depends on which Sonos you have. A single Sonos One does not in anyway shape or form beat out a HomePod in sound quality. When you start getting to the Play:3 or 5 it could become a different story. I love my Sonos and I love my HomePods, but different products for different uses.
 

waquzy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2013
991
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Leicestershire, UK
I think a lot of this depends on which Sonos you have. A single Sonos One does not in anyway shape or form beat out a HomePod in sound quality. When you start getting to the Play:3 or 5 it could become a different story. I love my Sonos and I love my HomePods, but different products for different uses.
Sonos 1 and the Play 3 are definitely inferior to HomePod. Play 5 might actually sound better, but it costs £230 more than the HomePod. So pound for pound the HomePod is the king. For the price of one Sonos Play 5 you could almost have 2 HomePods and then the competition ain’t even close. HomePod wins again
 

robjulo

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2010
1,354
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The blind tests show different. Do some research. Start with David Pogue's test. Pogue is a known Apple supporter. There, at best, is no difference.

Sonos 1 and the Play 3 are definitely inferior to HomePod. Play 5 might actually sound better, but it costs £230 more than the HomePod. So pound for pound the HomePod is the king. For the price of one Sonos Play 5 you could almost have 2 HomePods and then the competition ain’t even close. HomePod wins again
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
1,315
3,283
Chicago
The blind tests show different. Do some research. Start with David Pogue's test. Pogue is a known Apple supporter. There, at best, is no difference.
I can buy that there is no difference between the Play:3 and the HomePod, the Play:3 is what Apple compared the HomePod to initially. The HomePod definitely is better than a single One though. The difference there is pretty obvious.
 

robjulo

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2010
1,354
2,310
I don't care what you can "buy". There are multiple blind tests....do the research.

I can buy that there is no difference between the Play:3 and the HomePod, the Play:3 is what Apple compared the HomePod to initially. The HomePod definitely is better than a single One though. The difference there is pretty obvious.
 
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