Amazon May Be Readying Echo Dot Gen 3
Amazon updated its entry-level smart speaker the Echo Dot with the Gen 2 model back in the fall of 2016. Rumors and images are circulating that suggest the latest upgrade to a Gen 3 model are imminent. The Gen 2 model updates of 2016 were significant and came just months after the original product launch. Key changes included an updated microphone array that helped with recognition and some other changes that were reportedly important to implement spatial perception which is the feature that enables only the closest Echo device to the speaker to respond. It also removed a rotating volume control in favor of physical volume buttons. However, since 2016, Echo Dot Gen 2 has remained unchanged.
French publications Numerama and FrAndroid are reporting on a leaked photograph that first appeared in AFTVnews (N.B. link since removed). It is reportedly called “donut” internally and is being tested by Amazon employeeds according to FrAndroid.
Still Round But a New Look
You can see from the image that the 3rd generation devices appears to have rounded edges and no speaker holes on the top. Instead there is a mesh along the sides of the cylinder that presumably houses the speakers. The mute, activation and up and down volume control buttons appear to remain the same, but there are four holes which suggest the availability of microphone inputs.
The takeaway here is that rumors suggest a new Echo Dot is in development and given the timing, it may well be released in late September or early October in advance of the holiday shopping season. After two years, an update is logical and a change to the speaker system will address sound quality which is the most obvious feature issue with the 2nd generation Echo Dot. If you see any of these in the wild or have had a chance to try one out, drop me a DM on Twitter and let me know what you think.