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Amazon said to be working on a premium version of the Echo

Amazon said to be working on a premium version of the Echo
From TechCrunch - July 13, 2017

Amazons Echo is a lot of things to a lot of peoplebut the word premium never really enters the conversation. Thats because, like most of the devices Amazon makes, the product isnt really about the hardware at allits a content delivery channel thats helped the company land in millions of living rooms. According to a new report from Engadget, however, the company is looking to up its game with the next generation of the cylindrical smart speakeroffering something more inline with Apples upcoming HomePod.

The device is definitely long overdue for an upgradeAmazons added a number of new members to the Echo family, all while keeping the original device mostly untouched in the two years its been on the market. According to unnamed sources, the product will sport a better built-in speaker system, cloth covering and a shorter buildall of which also apply to the new Apple product.

The smaller size and improved sound are both no-brainers for the first meaningful update since the Echos original release. And Amazons probably feeling some pushback from both the HomePod and Google Home in terms of making a product that better blends into a bookshelf or a desk. Lets be honest, the Echo line is pretty junky looking. Once the original novelty of the thing wore off, I suspect a lot of people started stashing them out of view like a routerthough maybe thats just me.

That theres a new version of the Echo just over the horizon checks out, as well. Among other things, Prime Day is a great clearinghouse for old inventory. All of the older Echo models got a price cut, but the originals was by far the deepest, at 50 percent, which serves the dual purpose of getting Alexa into a lot more homes and, perhaps, clearing out some of those warehouse shelves to make room for something new.

But there are some key unanswered questions here, the most important being pricing. Thats the the factor that will really determine how Amazon is ultimately positioning the product. The Echo is $180. Thats nothing compared to the HomePods $350 price tag, but it has since been undercut by Googles $130 Home and, more to the point, the $50 Dot, which is currently the best-selling Echo product.

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