Amazon Echo 5th gen: Everything we know so far and what we want to see

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Smart speakers today owe a lot to the first Amazon Echo 5th gen, so every new flagship model is eagerly awaited by people who follow the industry. It tends to set the bar for everything that comes after.

When the 4th generation Echo came out in 2020, it kept up this record. Two years have passed, and now that Apple, Google, and Sonos are putting more pressure on Amazon, it’s time to ask what we can expect from the 5th-generation Echo. We also have a list of things we want to happen.

Will there be an Amazon Echo 5th gen?

Amazon Echo 5th gen: Everything we know so far and what we want to see

There will probably be a 5th generation Echo. No matter what it looks like, there needs to be a standard model that is constantly updated to hold up the rest of the Echo line. The only way that would change is if Amazon changed its name or left the market altogether. A new regular Amazon Echo speaker comes out about every two years, and that time is almost up.

When will the Amazon Echo 5th gen be available?

At a press event on September 28, Amazon Echo 5th gen Dot, but didn’t show off any other hardware updates for the Echo line, as many people had expected. The company’s main way to talk about consumer devices is at events in September.

If the company wants to keep up with the rest of the smart speaker industry, it will probably need to update its flagship product by the end of 2022. Amazon could skip another year, but that doesn’t seem likely unless it can add enough new features through software. Check out the full history of when the Echo came out:

  • Amazon Echo 1st gen — November 2014 (invitation and Prime members)/June 2015 (public)
  • Amazon Echo 2nd gen — October 2017
  • Amazon Echo 3rd gen — October 2019
  • Amazon Echo 4th gen — October 2020

What features will the Amazon Echo 5th gen have?

Matter over Thread

One thing we know for sure is that Matter beats Thread. Amazon has already promised Matter over Thread for some existing devices, like the Echo 4th generation, so all that’s left is for the company to include it in the next generation right out of the box.

What are thread and matter? You can learn more about them at the link below, but in short, Matter is an upcoming network protocol that will let devices work on all of the major smart home platforms. You won’t have to worry about whether or not accessories like smart bulbs are explicitly compatible with your platform of choice. In theory, as long as they have the Matter logo, they should work. The standard is set to go into effect at the end of 2022. It will also reduce the need for hubs, bridges, and internet access by making local mesh networks possible.

Read more: Chromecast with Google TV (HD) review: The new king of HD streaming 

Matter can work with Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, but it’s best when used with Thread, a wireless protocol based on Zigbee. Many Thread products work as low-powered “border routers” that other Thread accessories can connect to. It’s already in things like the HomePod mini, Nanoleaf bulbs, and light panels.

With Matter over Thread, the Amazon Echo 5th gen will likely be the center of many smart homes, connecting accessories from hundreds of brands. The real question is whether you’ll be able to use the speaker with Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant as well as Alexa. If so, that could be mind-blowing.

The sound got better

Sound quality is likely to get better, but that’s not a given. This has been true of every new Echo generation, but the fourth-generation speaker took a big step forward and sounds better than a $100 product should. It can get loud and have a lot of basses while still being clear.

The Amazon Echo 5th gen will probably improve the sound instead of making a big change since it’s not clear how Amazon could make it better without also raising prices.

Eero Built-In

One surprise about the Amazon Echo 5th gen Dot was that it worked with Eero Built-In, a technology that makes your Wi-Fi network bigger if you connect it to an Eero router. Each Dot can cover an extra 1,000 square feet, but it can only do 100Mbps and connect 10 more devices.

Amazon plans to add the same technology to the Echo 4th generation through an update, so you can expect that to work out of the box on the 5th generation.

What will the Amazon Echo 5th gen price be?

While the original Echo started at $180, pricing shrank to $100 for the 2nd gen model and has hovered there ever since. Amazon will probably do everything in its power to stick to a similar price for the Echo 5th gen since $100 is an obvious psychological threshold that’s worked well so far. Amazon can even afford for it to be a loss leader, as there are plenty of Amazon-branded services and accessories to make up the gap.

That said, the company is probably feeling the bite of supply chain issues and related inflation like most tech companies in 2022, so it might raise prices to compensate.

Amazon Echo 5th gen: What we want to see

Dolby Atmos and other home theater improvements

Dolby Atmos is not supported by the current Echo, even though it looks like a ball. But the standard is becoming more popular and is slowly getting more content on services like Amazon Music, so it makes sense to add it to new Echo devices. When you consider that you can pair an existing Echo with a Fire TV streamer, support makes even more sense.

We’d also like to be able to connect a 5th-generation Echo to a third-party streamer or TV through an HDMI or optical port. This is less likely than Atmos, though, because adding ports costs money and keeps people locked into the Fire TV ecosystem, which is good for Amazon.

A clock and a display of the indoor temperature

Every smart speaker has a clock, but it’s not a big deal, so we wouldn’t normally go out of our way to talk about it. We’re bringing it up here because Amazon sells an Echo Dot with a clock, and it seems strange that you can’t pay a little more for the same feature on a higher-end product, especially one that’s more likely to be a focal point.

As for the temperature inside, the 4th generation has a built-in room sensor, and it’s weird that you can’t see the temperature without asking for it or opening the Alexa app. If Amazon does make an Amazon Echo 5th gen with an alarm clock, it would make sense for it to also show the temperature.

A quick handoff of sound

Apple’s HomePod mini has a unique feature that lets you switch audio from your iPhone to the speaker or vice versa by putting the two devices close together. It sounds like a party trick, but the appeal is clear if you’ve ever been listening to something and wanted to finish it somewhere else.

Amazon Echo 5th gen: Everything we know so far and what we want to see

It might be hard to make this happen on an Amazon Echo 5th gen. Amazon would probably need to add a wireless chip and then find a way to sync data between different services and phones. There is a chance that the tech will come to Android devices, but there is even less hope for the important iPhone market, since Apple is known for keeping a tight grip on iOS and how its NFC and UWB (ultra-wideband) chips are used.

Made-to-order wake words

Even though Amazon is the leader when it comes to other ways to activate voice assistants, that doesn’t mean much. Apple, Google, and Samsung don’t let you change anything, so Amazon wins automatically by letting you change Alexa’s wake word to “Echo,” “Amazon,” “Computer,” or “Ziggy.” Still, that’s not a great selection, especially Ziggy, which may avoid accidental triggers but sounds like someone at Amazon liked reggae or newspaper comics from the 1970s.

There are a few good reasons to limit your choices. Most commands for smart speakers are handled by servers in the cloud, but wake words are always handled locally so they can respond quickly. This means that the simpler things are, the better. Words also need to be long enough to be easy to tell apart and hard to mix up with other things. Customers won’t get angry if they can’t get an Echo to answer when they say the name of their favorite character from Dune or Harry Potter.

We live in the year 2022, and as technology improves, it seems less and less logical to give our “personal” voice assistants names that someone else chose. Alexa’s current wake words don’t work well for everyone, and there must be a way to make them work better for more people while keeping the safety features.

FAQs

Will there be a 5th generation Echo?

The new Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) costs $49, and it can also be used to extend your Wi-Fi signal.

What Echo generation is the best?

The Amazon Echo Studio is our choice for the best Echo speaker. It’s a high-end option with high-quality sound, including 3D audio with a five-speaker setup and Dolby Atmos support. When a software update comes out in the fall of 2022, it will make the sound even better.

Does Echo 5 do video calls?

Tap the icon that looks like a phone, and then choose the person you want to call. If that person has set up an Echo device or the Alexa app to receive calls, you’ll see options to make a voice or video call to them. The call is then sent to the person you’re calling’s Echo device.