Amazon is planning a new version of its popular Echo smart speaker, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Scheduled for a possible 2020 release, the new model is said to be larger than the current version, with more internal speaker components, yet it will still retain the Echo’s distinctive cylindrical shape.
The smart speaker category has become highly competitive since Amazon launched the first version of the Echo in 2015, with new entries from both high-tech companies like Apple and Google, as well as brands that hail from the traditional audio market, such as JBL and Sonos.
The current Echo and Echo Plus now sit between inexpensive, yet small smart speakers like its own Echo Dot, and the Google Home Mini, and larger, more expensive models like Apple’s HomePod, the Google Home Max, and the Sonos One.
It’s these larger, better-sounding smart speakers that Amazon is likely targeting with a revamped Echo, given that listening to music is among the most popular smart speaker-based activities.
In fact, it’s so popular that Amazon Music was recently credited with being the fastest growing streaming music service — largely on the strength of its Echo product line, which is configured to use Amazon Music out of the box, and the free tier of Amazon Music it launched in April 2019.