Amazon announced its Echo intelligent speaker just about a year ago, and now The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Seattle, Washington-based company is planning to introduce a smaller, more portable version of the device…
It goes without saying that the Echo’s success was a bit of a surprise, especially in light of the catastrophic failure that was Amazon’s other relatively recent entry into a new hardware category. Apparently the device was successful enough that Amazon is planning to launch a smaller variant, though, and it’s going to be announced “in the coming weeks” no less at a lower price point to hopefully attract more buyers.
The current Echo, which sells at a price point of $180, is basically a dumber version of Google Now built into a speaker that plugs into the wall. It didn’t seem like a great idea at first considering we all have phones in our pockets with similar functionality, but the Echo is well-reviewed thanks to its great microphone hardware that can hear your voice from pretty much anywhere. I haven’t tried one myself, yet, but the 30,000+ positive reviews on Amazon say a lot.
The device has connectivity with smart home devices Philips Hue, Wemo, Samsung SmartThings, and more. Of course, Echo also lets you buy Amazon products (probably one of the biggest reasons it exists, frankly), set alarms, answer trivia questions like Google Now, play music, create notes and lists, and more.
And this, in my mind, begs the question of why Google hasn’t created an Echo of their own yet. It’s been a runaway success for Amazon, and the company is even now planning to launch a smaller device at a lower price. If this very same hardware could be married with Google’s much-better AI, we could see a device that changes the way we do things in the home. Users of the Echo say that the device is “a nearly perfect spouse,” and a Google-powered device would likely be even better.