The Billie Eilish Echo Studio is cool, but it’s time for customizable smart speakers


Pop superstar Billie Eilish was spotted in the Studio … no, not this Studio, we’re talking about Amazon’s biggest and best smart speaker.

Ahead of its annual hardware event on September 28, the company released a limited edition version of Amazon Echo Studio with Billie Eilish’s face taped to the speaker grille.

Available for pre-order now for $ 230 (around £ 170 / AU $ 315), the Happier Than Ever album-themed speaker will ship in October. It’s a bit more expensive than the original price of the Echo Studio, but we’re sure die-hard Billie fans won’t mind.

If you’re a little confused as to why Amazon would launch the Billie-branded Echo Studio (and we don’t blame you), this seems to be part of a marketing ploy to tout the benefits of the space audio technology of the wireless speaker.

In a statement from Amazon, Eilish said, “I can’t wait for my cute fans to listen to my new album Happier Than Ever in spatial audio, available on Amazon Music Unlimited.”

More choice please

If you’re a Billie Eilish fan, we’re sure the idea of ​​an Echo Studio with her face covered in plaster is really exciting – but it leaves everyone in the cold.

Amazon is clearly capable of printing images on its smart speakers, so why not take it one step further and allow customers to upload their own images and purchase fully customized Echo speakers? This would certainly set its Echo line apart from competition like the Apple HomePod mini and the Google Nest line.

You can even use a selfie, as if you’ve taken the very essence of Alexa and put it in the empty shell of your own face – as TechRadar writer Tom Bedford beautifully demonstrated:

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an echo studio with tom bedford face

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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Tom Bedford on an Alexa speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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Tom Bedford on an Alexa speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)

We can see why the company would be hesitant, however. Unless he can monitor the type of images people are downloading, there could be an influx of rude (and potentially very offensive) Echo speakers making their way across the internet. And that would not be good for the image of the company at all.

Still, there’s no reason Amazon can’t take a small step towards customizable smart speakers. The current Echo range is only available in two colors: Glacier White and Twilight Blue. We understand that consistent branding has so far helped Amazon dominate the smart home market, but surely Alexa speakers are ubiquitous enough now that the company is having a little fun?

After all, we know Amazon doesn’t shy away from playing with wacky designs; The Amazon Echo Dot Kids, suitable for ages three and up, comes in a Panda or Tiger design that brings a cute look to the Echo Dot’s spherical space-age aesthetic.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

(Image credit: Amazon)

In fact, the company recently funded a limited edition Echo Dot, made in collaboration with fashion designer Diane Von Furstenburg, which made it possible to create a smart speaker that might actually appeal to those who dare to put on a little color in their house.

There was also an element of choice in this collaboration; customers had the choice between three models to pre-order, only the winning model (Midnight Kiss) being made.

We’d love to see more designer-led collaborations like this going forward – as well as making more color and pattern options available for the regular Echo Dot, without the tedious process of having to vote for different designs.

Maybe better customization of the Echo speakers is something we’ll see at the next Amazon event. The company could even make its next Echos modular, with the possibility of inverting the grille according to your mood, the season, or simply to match it with your new cushions. For now, it’s Billie or Bust.


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