The new Echo will have a better design, better speakers and an improved microphone.

Amazon working on slimmer better Echo to take on Apples HomePod and Google Home
Atom Technology Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 11:56

Aiming to regain the top spot in smart speaker space, Amazon is reportedly working on a new flagship Echo speaker that will be slimmer and better than its predecessor.

According to a report in Engadget, the updated model will be "shorter and slimmer", akin to three or four stacked Echo Dots. 

Amazon is also reportedly softening its design with rounded edges and a cloth-like covering unlike the current Echo's plastic shell and flat ends.

The move is seen as Amazon's attempt to better Apple's HomePod that was launched in its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

The new Echo would offer better sound using several tweeters instead of just one -- similar to the HomePod that will sport seven tweeters when it ships this December.

Amazon is also planning to improve Echo's microphone technology as well as the design.

The current model has an array of seven far-field mics, while the HomePod has six and Google Home has two. Engadget reports that Amazon might be able to make improvements to the software and acoustic modeling. 

If Amazon can stick to a $180 price tag, it will retain at least one advantage over the HomePod, which will sell for $349, the report said.

Samsung too, is working on a smart speaker powered by its AI-powered voice assistant Bixby. According to reports, the project is codenamed Vega. However, the progress of this has apparently being slowed down by the progress of Bixby.

The major issue is that Bixby is yet to be fully equipped to understand different accents in which the English language is spoken, particularly in a country like US. Most other competitors in the field, Amazon (Alexa), Google (Google Assistant) and Apple (SIRI) are all US-based and their products have not had any difficulty on this front.