The Amazon Echo 2 will reportedly be smaller and have better sound, and those are just a couple of the improvements that Amazon is said to be introducing for the second generation of its Artificial Intelligence-enabled smart home speaker. Smaller is also more of a broad term, and according to the details there's actually a bit more to it than that. The next Amazon Echo speaker is said to be shorter and slimmer than the original unit, and instead of using plastic for the outer protective layer of the hardware, Amazon will use a softer cloth-like material instead that's similar to Apple's HomePod and Google Home, while also rounding out the top edges instead of having the top be completely flat, making the unit appear less rigid and allowing it to perhaps more easily fit in with a wider range of home decor.
As for the improvement on sound quality, Amazon is said to be incorporating better microphone tech for the new model of the Echo but it wasn't mentioned how it plans to do so, whether that includes adding more far-field microphones or removing some and simply adding software into the mix to help with the acoustics. Compared to its competition, the original Amazon Echo already has the most far-field microphones, so adding more is probably less likely than adjusting things in another way.
In addition to improving the microphone tech for the new speaker, more tweeters are likely going to be added as well. In the current model of the Echo Amazon is using only one large tweeter which is paired with one woofer. The new model of the Echo is said to be coming with "several" tweeters. This means they'll be smaller than the one in the original Echo but having more of them should mean better overall sound and clarity, which will certainly help for not only the everyday back and forth between the user and Alexa, but also for when the user might want to stream music to the speaker. Better sound quality will also be important for when using the new Echo for voice calls or the intercom feature, as Amazon will surely be integrating that functionality into it now that it's already rolled out to the original Echo. Amazon is said to be planning for a release of the new Echo speaker sometime this Fall although there hasn't been any rumors suggesting a price yet.