Amazon is working on the next Echo accessory that should feature significantly improved sound quality over the current lineup of Echo smart speakers, Engadget reported Thursday.
The gizmo will reportedly include “several tweeters” versus the one large tweeter and a woofer in the existing Echo. The company is also improving the new Echo’s microphone technology, “though it’s unclear how it’s doing so.”
Current Echo devices have seven far-field mics, while Apple’s HomePod has six and Google’s Home has two.
Shorter and slimmer than the original Echo, which released two years ago, the next Echo will be more stylish than its predecessors thanks to rounded edges and a cloth-like covering.
Amazon is allegedly planning for a fall release.
Echo has been lauded as the best voice-activated speaker on the market in terms of AI and voice features, but with poor audio quality. That’s in stark contrast to Apple’s upcoming HomePod, which many reviewers praised for being the best-sounding smart speaker out there, even outperforming Sonos in terms of sound quality.
With the next Echo, Amazon is clearly looking to close the gap with HomePod when it comes to audio quality and style.
HomePod features an array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom amplifier, a high-excursion woofer with custom amplifier, internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction and a six-microphone array for far-field Siri and room sensing.
The built-in A8 chip constantly analyzes the music being played through the speaker, as well as the room layout, to continually optimize audio quality using software-based features such as direct and ambient audio beam-forming and transparent studio-level dynamic processing.
HomePod is due to launch this December.
Image: Amazon Echo Show with a built-in display