A day after making its Whole Foods debut, the original Echo is no longer for sale from Amazon’s site, a move that could indicate the imminent arrival of a new device. The timing is certainly right. The original Echo is long, long overdue for an upgrade. The smart assistant has gone mostly untouched since entering the market two years ago — even as other devices like the Dot have gone through multiple generations.
Amazon has also been aggressively and frequently discounting the smart speaker of late, slicing it in half for Prime Day and cutting $70 off the sticker price as part of yesterday’s festivities. The timing means a new Echo would likely be due out in time for the holidays, as well, slotting alongside more recent additions like the display-sporting Show.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the Echo has gone out of stock in the past. There was a big push just this past holiday season, so there’s some possibility that the company has simply been having trouble keeping up with the demand from its deep discounts.
Last month, word got out that Amazon was working on a premium version of the device, set to take on Apple’s HomePod, with improved sound, a cloth covering and a smaller footprint. Whether such an offering would arrive as yet another member in the growing Amazon family or replace the Echo altogether remains to be seen.
Though, the arrival of the far cheaper Dot and the addition of full Alexa functionality to third-party devices has made the original $180 Alexa somewhat redundant. Perhaps the company just didn’t see room for the original in the Echo family, now that so many other options are available.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment.