Will Amazon launch a better-sounding Echo speaker this week?

Is Amazon launching a hi-res Echo speaker this week?
(Image credit: Amazon)

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.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.