Amazon reportedly plotting upgraded Echo as work on Alexa robot continues

Amazon pours resources into smart home robot and upgraded Echo, report says

A new report today by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says prototypes of the speaker are wider than the current Echo speaker, allowing the inclusion of additional components, including at least four tweeters. Google has done quite well for itself with a market share of 31 percent.

Signaling its commitment to Vesta still, Amazon has pulled engineers from other projects to work on robot prototypes, which are now "waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras". Amazon plans to start selling voice-controlled earbuds to rival Apple's AirPods as early as this year, Bloomberg reported in April.

It's unclear exactly what the intended goal of the device would be, though speculation is that the bot would be a kind of mobile Echo, bringing the Alexa capabilities with users around their home.

Amazon has previously attempted to improve the Echo's sound with tweaks and offered a standalone subwoofer and device that links the speakers to a stereo.

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Bloomberg says it was scheduled to launch this year, but it is not ready for mass production yet.

The higher-quality Echo marks just the latest move by Amazon to gain ground in the smart speaker market segment. Apple's HomePod hasn't sold as well as Cupertino had hoped, recently prompting the company to lower its price. We shouldn't expect this new Echo to appear before the end of 2019, but it could never see the light of day if Amazon decides tweaks to its existing line-up are enough when they inevitably get refreshed.

Bloomberg wasn't able to offer any specifics as to what objective the home robot would serve, but those who've seen prototypes of the device say that they "are about waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras". "In an internal demonstration, an engineer summoned the machine with his voice", Bloomberg reports. This could work well for Amazon, but it wouldn't be the first time high-fidelity music service available to consumers. In the past, several companies making home robots failed, such as Anki (which made a caterpillar-tracked Vector bot) and Jibo (which made the social bot Jibo).

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