Amazon’s Echo smart speakers have proven a huge hit and the range has expanded since those early days to include a multitude of different models including the Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus, Echo Flex and Echo Studio, as well as the standard Echo itself.
The Echo 3 launched not that long ago, but as it wasn’t that different to its predecessor, we look forward at what we might be able to expect from the fourth generation of the Echo, how much it’s likely to cost and when you might be able to buy one for your home.
When will the new Amazon Echo be released?
The first Amazon Echo was released in June 2015 in the US and then in the UK a year later in September 2016. This was followed by the second generation in October 2017 and the current Amazon Echo 3 which arrived in October 2019. You can see what the latest model has to offer by reading Amazon Echo 3 review.
As you can see, there’s a pattern where the updates tend to arrive in either September or October, but with two years between the 2nd and 3rd generations it’s unclear whether Amazon plans to make this a yearly event going forward. If it does, then we’d expect the new model to be unveiled around September during its annual hardware event, with the product available to buy the following month.
Of course, with the current coronavirus pandemic causing not only disruption to manufacturing and distribution, this timeline could easily change.
How much will the Amazon Echo 4 cost?
The last two iterations of the Echo have had the same price, which is £89.99/$99.99, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this is maintained by Amazon. This allows the company to place the Echo between its other products, all while making it an affordable option for those who want a larger speaker.
At the moment the Echo speaker line-up looks like this;
So as you can see, the standard Echo sits right in the middle and makes a tempting proposition for those who want something bigger and more powerful-sounding than the Echo Dot but cheaper than the Echo Plus.
What new features will Amazon add to the Echo 4?
At the time of writing, there were literally no rumours at all about the next Echo. It’s too early for there to be any leaks. So for now, these are the features we’d like to see in the new device.
There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with the speakers in the existing Echo 3, in fact they’re the same as the ones in the Echo Plus (2nd Gen), but if Amazon is going to put out a new model of a speaker then it makes sense that the sound quality will get a boost in one fashion or another.
This may become an important upgrade as there are rumours that Apple is preparing a cheaper version of its HomePod speaker, so Amazon will want to keep ahead of the curve if it wants to maintain its dominance of the smart speaker market.
More colour options
Amazon added a lovely Twilight blue option to the colour choices when it introduced the Echo 3. This complements the existing Charcoal, Heather Grey, Sandstone, and Red (US-only) liveries, but leaves out the Plum colour offered on the Echo Dot (3rd Gen). In the US there are also Kids version of the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) which offers another Blue and a rather lively Rainbow fabric. We’d like to see all of these colours offered across the whole range, so that you can match your speakers not only to your décor or preferences but also to each other.
Improving Alexa’s voice
- Alexa is an impressive voice assistant and capable of all kinds of things, such as streaming music, controlling your smart home devices, and even telling the occasional joke. She does still lack a bit of character, though (unless you know how to get her funny responses).
For the most part, her voice is a little robotic, as are her responses to questions and other general interactions. In comparison to the likes of Google’s voice assistant, Alexa can feel cold and impersonal. We know that the scientists at Amazon are working on ways to improve the vocal interface, so we’d like this to be one of the big features that comes with the fourth-generation Echo.
To see how Amazon’s devices compare to the competition, read Best smart speakers 2020.