As eager customers got their hands on Apple’s HomePod starting last Friday, one thing is for sure, the smart speaker competition is heating up. The latest news is that Amazon is working on creating custom chips for future Echo devices to help maintain its market lead.
While HomePod is receiving stellar reviews overall for its sound quality, Apple is receiving a good amount of negative feedback for the speaker’s weak Siri capabilities and lack of support for other services besides Apple Music and things like stereo pairing.
Reported by The Information (via The Verge) Amazon is working on creating custom AI chips for its Echo devices, similar to Apple’s A-series chips. HomePod used the company’s custom A8 chip to optimize hardware and software integration.
Now, Amazon reportedly has 450 employees with strong chip experience. The Information notes that Amazon’s purchase of Annpurna Labs, an Israeli chipmaker and the security camera company Blink, both point to the development of its own AI chips to power more on-device processing on Echo devices.
While including custom chips in future Echo devices will certainly help Amazon offer faster and more responsive devices, a larger speaker or at least one focused on high quality audio seems more and more likely as HomePod and Google Home Max are now in the mix.
At this point, Amazon has been relying on third-parties to bring Alexa integration to higher quality speakers. In fact, Sonos is still offering its deal for two of the One speakers for the same price of HomePod.