Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Amazon announced a $200 (£190) Echo Studio speaker at its annual press event on Wednesday, as well as an all-new $100 (£90) Amazon Echo. The Echo Studio, available for preorder today, is the first smart speaker with 3D audio via Dolby Atmos and will have hundreds of songs available on Amazon Music HD this year, with more to come in 2020. It has three midrange speakers on the left, right and top.
Amazon has up till now largely avoided introducing a premium-tier version of the Echo to compete directly with the Google Home Max and Apple HomePod. David Limp, Amazon's devices chief, said in June 2017 that audiophiles prefer choice when it comes to more expensive speakers, and Amazon already offers that selection on its website.
Rumors of a higher-end Echo have persisted for years, however. Added to that, Amazon has a penchant for diving into its partners' businesses, increasing the chances that such a device could finally arrive.
The rollout of such a device could have a big impact on Sonos, Bose and other higher-end speaker manufacturers who already use Alexa in their devices and rely on Amazon for sales.