Amazon hasn’t refreshed the Amazon Echo Dot in almost two years. The current generation Echo Dot is a pretty good smart speaker at an affordable price tag, but its audio quality isn’t that great. The e-commerce heavyweight is going to launch the third-gen Amazon Echo Dot later this year. Ahead of the official unveiling, the device has been leaked in the wild, thanks to French blogs FrAndroid and Numerama.
What changes will the third-gen Amazon Echo Dot bring?
AFTV News, which has a reliable track record when it comes to Amazon product leaks, said the images leaked by French blogs were real. The third-gen Amazon Echo Dot is currently being tested in-house by Amazon employees. The device is code-named Donut, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the Dot speakers are internally named after food items. The original Echo Dot was called Pancake and the second-gen model was code-named Biscuit.
The leaked images suggest the new Echo Dot will bring several design changes. It appears to have only five microphone openings, down from seven on the current generation model. Having fewer microphones doesn’t mean a lower sound quality or poor ability to hear your queries. Microphone beamforming technologies have undergone a major improvement in the last few years, so five microphones should be more than enough to offer great sound quality on the third-gen Amazon Echo Dot.
It has the same four physical buttons – mute, volume, and action buttons – at the top. AFTV News says going by the size of the Amiibo figure at the top, the new Echo Dot would be larger than the current generation. Amazon is said to be increasing its size to improve audio quality. The company did something similar with the Echo speaker.
The new Dot will ditch the flat top and glossy black plastic of the current model. Its sides appear to be made of a fabric material to give it a softer, more rounded appearance. If it happens, the third-generation Amazon Echo Dot will look an awfully lot like Google’s Home Mini. The device appears to retain the round LED, though it’s not illuminated in the leaked screenshots.
When is it coming?
Amazon traditionally announces new Echo hardware in September. If the company unveils Echo Dot in September, it will give the new device a head start over Google’s upcoming Home smart speakers. Google is expected to hold a hardware event in the first week of October to unveil new Pixel phones, Pixel Buds, Pixelbook 2, and Google Home products.
Competition in the smart speaker market has intensified in the last few years. The market is growing fast enough to accommodate multiple players. According to data from Research & Markets, the global smart speaker market is estimated to be worth $2.7 billion in 2018. It will grow further to nearly $12 billion by 2023.
Say hello to Alexa Cast
Amazon has launched a new Alexa Cast feature to let customers stream content on Alexa-supported devices. However, it is currently compatible with only Amazon Music. It reduces the hassle of controlling and playing music on Echo smart speakers from an Android or iOS device. The Alexa Cast will allow users to control movies, music, podcasts, and other playbacks from different apps.
The Amazon Music app on iOS and Android has received an update with the new feature. After the update, you’ll see the Alexa Cast icon on the Now Playing screen within Amazon Music app. You can tap on the icon to select the device on which you want to play the music. It was only a matter of time before Amazon introduced this feature. Google already has Google Cast and Apple has AirPlay to offer similar capabilities.