Amazon is reportedly fast at work on creating a successor to its popular Echo, but it isn't giving the connected speaker a simple design or software update, it's overhauling the whole body to make it smaller, portable even.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon plans to release a new version of the Echo that'll "fit comfortably in the palm of a user’s hand, like a beer can." The upcoming device is going by the codename Fox and will still rest vertically on a tabletop. Amazon is hoping to strike gold again, as its original, Pringles-can-sized Echo has been a huge hit.
Echo remains plugged into an outlet and can do everything from your answer your questions to play music. It can even control your connected lights and gadgets with voice commands. One of the coolest aspects about the speaker is that it features a Siri-like voice assistant named Echo, which is always-listening for her name to be spoken.
Amazon doesn't release sales figures, but its site shows that more than 30,000 reviewers have given the Echo an average 4.5 out of 5 stars. The speaker costs $180, but the new version is expected to cost a lot less in an attempt to attract a different segment of potential buyers. It also won't need to be plugged in to listen for voice commands.
Amazon is making the new version chargeable via a docking station, but it'll need a button-push to respond to voice commands. Amazon ditched the always-on aspect (which some Echo owners were critically of) to preserve battery life. The speaker is now being designed in the same unit that drafted the Fire phone, tablet, set-top box, and e-readers.
Although Amazon has supposedly brought Singapore-based Flextronics onboard to help make the upcoming device, there's no word yet on when we can expect Amazon Echo 2 (as it is being dubbed) to launch.