Amazon Announces New $99 Echo Speaker With Improved Sound

Amazon has finally seen fit to upgrade its Echo speaker, today announcing a brand new, improved model.

Amazon has officially unveiled a brand new Amazon Echo speaker. This is a follow-up to the original model, which means there isn’t a camera and there isn’t a display — just a speaker. Amazon has improved upon that model, though, announcing that the new speaker boasts improved sound quality. Specifically, the new Echo speaker supports Dolby Audio. There is also a dedicated tweeter and woofer, which should help the range as well.

Amazon also confirmed that the smart speaker will still support Alexa, and, to help improve the use cases where owners call upon the digital personal assistant, the new Echo speaker supports improved second-generation voice recognition capabilities. It also boasts second-generation far-field microphone technology, and also supports multi-room audio. Several different Echo devices can also be used together.

Amazon also upgraded the hardware, crafting this model from metal, and wrapping a fabric shell around it, which Amazon says owners can swap out for other colors if they want. There are six shells to start, sold by Amazon directly.

Amazon is opening pre-orders for the new Echo speaker. It is priced at $99.

Of course, the improvement to sound quality isn’t a missed response to Apple announcing its own smart speaker, the HomePod, earlier this year. Apple put a lot of focus on the sound quality of that particular device, so it will be interesting to see how Amazon’s new Echo stacks up against the competition when the HomePod launches later this year. Especially considering the HomePod costs $349.

[via TechCrunch]