When Amazon announced its CD-quality and hi-res music streaming service, Amazon Music HD, last week, the first question on our lips was "will a better-sounding, hi-res-capable Echo speaker follow?"
Well, Amazon is "working on a bulkier Echo device with better sound quality", a person involved in the project told CNBC. The new, rumoured speaker reportedly "comes with a woofer and better speakers than the original version".
As the retail giant is holding a hardware event in Seattle tomorrow (Wednesday 25th), its launch of a better-sounding speaker to take full advantage of its music service's higher-quality offering would be timely. Currently, the only Amazon Echo products with 24-bit DACs are the Echo Link Amp and Echo Link hi-fi components.
There was once a time when Amazon's Echo speakers focused on smart, voice control features over performance, but the latest Echo Plus, which we heralded for its "splendid sonic performance", was a clear sign that those priorities have changed. Fingers crossed we'll soon – perhaps very soon – have an Echo speaker good enough to trouble the sonically class-leading Apple HomePod and Sonos One, then.
Rumour has it Amazon is also working on fitness-tracking earbuds with Alexa, which would see the company enter the health device market for the first time. According to the CNBC source, the sport headphones – expected to cost less than $100, undercutting the Apple AirPods – feature a built-in accelerometer that allows them to monitor, for example, the distance and pace of a run and the calories burned.
Amazon declined to comment on its plans so we'll just have to wait patiently for tomorrow's hardware event to roll around.