Amazon Cuts Price of Echo Ahead of New Speaker Launch

A new report from eMarketer projects that voice-enabled smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home will see significant gains in 2017. It may additionally be capable of making voice calls, meanwhile the speaker itself is reported to be louder and of higher audio quality than the current Echo.

Awareness of Amazon Echo increased dramatically in the past year, and Echo owners use it as a voice-responsive Internet query device and household controller, in addition to a streaming music speaker, according to CIRP.

Schiller acknowledged the growing consumer interest in voice-powered devices like the Echo and Home, but noted that the lack of a screen can be severely limiting.

Amazon launched the Echo in 2015 as a substitute for using tablets, smartphones and computers at home.

More than one-quarter of smartphone owners in the US, 60.5 million Americans, will use a virtual assistant like Alexa, Apple's Siri, or Microsoft's Cortana at least once a month. The small circle above the screen appears to be a camera, which means phone and video calling could be a new feature that further sets this device apart from its predecessor.

This is a staunch departure for the Amazon Echo, who has reigned in the era of home assistants by introducing their device as the first to market gadget that has been a major success. But there are rumors now that Amazon may be close to releasing a new Echo with a touch screen. In comparison, the base model of the Amazon Echo, which was released in late 2014, is now selling for $149, with newer models Echo Tap and Echo Dot carrying lower price tags.

Home and Echo both allow users to speak to them and get responses, or carry out "smart home" tasks like managing the thermostat and ensuring security.

"And so I think voice assistants are incredibly powerful, their intelligence is going to grow, they're gonna do more for us, but the role of the screen is gonna remain very important to all of this". The new Amazon Echo is supposed to make it easier for users to access content, such as weather forecasts, calendar events and the news.

Insider reports say Apple is preparing to introduce its own Amazon Echo competitor possibly as soon as Worldwide Developer Conference next month.

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