Amazon plans high-end Echo, ramps up work on Alexa home robot

Ruben Fields
July 13, 2019

According to Bloomberg today, Amazon has several new products in the works, all surrounding its Echo brand and Alexa technology, including a new version of its smart speaker and - wait for it - an Alexa home "robot" that could potentially follow you around your home. While Amazon could choose never to release the robot, in recent months it has pulled engineers from other projects to work on it - a signal the company plans to sell Vesta at some point. It'll get around by using a collection of computer vision cameras, and Bloomberg's sources claim that prototypes come to about waist height, so it sounds like this has the potential to be a fairly large robot.

"People familiar with the project speculated previous year that the Vesta could be a sort of mobile Alexa, accompanying customers in parts of their home where they don't have Echo devices".

We first heard about Amazon's waist-high robot, Vesta, earlier this year.

To control the 'bot, users can reportedly use Alexa voice controls.

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Though Amazon may want to provide consumers with a better sounding speaker to provide a more premium audio experience there is still a chance that the company could decide not to release it. Amazon's Lab126 is reportedly handling the task of development and is said to already have prototypes designed. In September 2018, the company launched 15 new Alexa-enabled products, including a microwave.

The company is also working on an Alexa-powered robot. What will even be more interesting is to see if the robot is able to strike a chord with buyers. According to eMarketer, the device will capture 63 percent of the U.S. smart speaker market this year. The project was closed previous year, and it never made it onto the market.

EMarketer predicts that Echo will win over approximately 63% of USA market share this year (Google is at 31%). Google now has 31% of the market, while the rest have a joined 12%. That leaves the possibility open that Amazon could pack more than four tweeters into the new speaker. Higher quality Echo speakers are to be expected, based on past trends.

Amazon previously has worked on improving the Echo's sound by offering a separate subwoofer and a device that connects the speakers to a stereo.

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