Amazon really, really wants you to meet your next housemate. Her name is Alexa. No, she won't pay rent, but she promises not to take up too much space. That's because she lives inside a small, artificially intelligent speaker, the Amazon Echo.
If you don't already have an Echo in your home, Amazon is hoping to coax you into getting one the only way it knows how: With a smaller price tag. The next version of the Echo will reportedly be cheaper and smaller in size.
The Amazon Echo, which currently retails for $180, is a slightly above-average Bluetooth speaker like the ones you can buy from Bose or Beats, but with a Siri-like personal assistant built in. The always-listening smart speaker lets you do things like stream music from Pandora or Amazon Prime Music, ask basic questions ("Alexa, what's the weather today?"), or even add items to your Amazon shopping list.
The next version of Echo, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, will reportedly shrink down to the size of a beer can and have a charging dock that allows it be untethered from the power outlet, in addition to being cheaper.
Due to its smaller form factor, the next Echo will reportedly lack the "always listening" feature of its predecessor, instead requiring you to hit a button to get Alexa's attention.