Amazon regularly updates its Echo lineup with fresh, exciting hardware. Soon, it’ll expand it with wall-mounted screens, soundbars, and more.
Amazon is apparently getting ready to announce an exciting batch of new Echo hardware — including wall-mounted displays, soundbars, and more. Amazon became the first major player in the smart speaker race when the original Echo launched in 2014. The Amazon Echo introduced the world to Alexa and the idea of having a smart assistant in the house. Companies like Google and Apple have since made their own attempts to break into this niche, but there’s no denying the sheer dominance the Alexa ecosystem retains.
One area Amazon’s continually succeeded at is creating new and innovative form factors for Alexa. The smart assistant may have started as a simple smart speaker, but in 2021, it’s expanded to a variety of gadgets. Today, Amazon sells Echo devices in the form of smart speakers, smart displays, compact AC plug-ins, streaming boxes, and more. This constant release of new hardware helps keep the Alexa ecosystem feel fresh and exciting — and it’s clear this strategy isn’t changing any time soon.
Per a new report from Bloomberg, Amazon has a few new Echo devices in the works that could be announced during an event on September 28, sometime in 2022, or even further down the road. Starting with products likely to be unveiled during that event next week, Bloomberg suggests we’ll see the largest Echo display to date. Codenamed ‘Hoya,’ the device apparently has a massive 15-inch screen and can be placed on a table or mounted directly to a wall. It’ll work similarly to existing Echo Shows in its ability to show the time, weather, news, and other information. However, it’ll have a greater emphasis on being a “smart-home control panel” and as a huge canvas for viewing recipes in the kitchen. The Echo Show 10 is currently the largest Alexa smart display with a 10.1-inch screen, meaning the jump to 15 inches should be quite substantial. It’s also possible Amazon will announce a second-gen version of the Echo Auto. The existing model hasn’t received the best reviews since it launched in 2018. The new version will apparently come with a new design and the ability to double as an in-car smartphone charger.
Amazon’s Also Creating Echo Soundbars, Robots, And More
Looking beyond September 28, Amazon has a few other tricks up its sleeve — one of which is its first Echo-branded soundbars. Similar to a Sonos Beam or Bose Smart Soundbar 300, the Echo soundbar would be a long speaker to place underneath a TV for better audio in a home theater setup. Amazon reportedly planned to ship the soundbar this year, but since it’s “unlikely to meet that shipping timeline,” it probably won’t release until 2022. That said, it’s still possible the soundbar will make an early showing at the event ahead of a delayed launch.
Even further down the road, the Bloomberg report reinforces that Amazon’s still working on an Echo robot. Rumors of this have floated around for a few years, and as this latest report indicates, it’s something Amazon’s still trying to figure out. Early testing of prototypes apparently began a few months ago, including one model with a 7-inch display and another with a 10-inch one. As the report explains, “It [the robot] would follow a user around and could remind them of upcoming calendar events. The computer vision technology was seen as effective, being able to map out a home’s layout accurately.” It’ll be a few more years before the Echo robot ever sees a proper launch, and if/when that happens, it’s estimated to cost $1,000 or more.
For folks not ready for a robotic Echo quite yet, the good news is that more tamer Echo gadgets are also in the works. Updates to the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show likely aren’t happening this year, though new hardware for these lineups is expected in 2022. Furthermore, Amazon’s in the early stages of developing new wearable gadgets. Following the launch of its Halo fitness tracker earlier this year, Amazon’s supposedly working on models made specifically for kids and senior citizens. In other words, there’s a lot to be excited about as an Alexa fan right now. Whether it’s the gadgets coming out this year or in 2022, it’s safe to say Amazon has some interesting plans to look forward to.
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