At the tail end of 2014, Amazon officially took the wraps off of their latest creation - Amazon Echo. Echo was a bit of an oddball when Amazon announced it, and while it took some time for the device to pick up steam, the Echo has evolved into something quite powerful just about 2 years later. Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant has constantly been getting smarter and smarter since the Echo's initial release, and thanks to devices like Amazon's Tap and Dot, Alexa is now more portable and easy-to-access than ever before. Google announced a direct competitor to Amazon Echo back at their press event earlier this month with Google Home, and hot off the heels of that, SoundHound is now getting their feet wet in the market of smart speakers with the Hurricane.
For those who aren't familiar, SoundHound released an app by the name of Hound back in 2015. The Hound app uses the company's Hound virtual assistant that functions a whole lot like Siri and the Google Assistant
. The Hound app can be used to ask for your local forecast, see what movies are playing nearby, do a quick Internet search, etc. The service has made considerably improvements since its first release, and Hound is now finally making its way off of Android and iOS and will soon be moving directly into your home with SoundHound's Hurricane speaker. The speaker itself is actually being made by Boombotix, and while Hound is certainly quite prominent in the Hurricane speaker, both SoundHound and Boombotix are putting a rather strong emphasis on listening to music over anything else.
The Hurricane will connect to the Internet via your home Wi-Fi connection, and if you want to take it out and about, you can connect it to your phone via Bluetooth and use it that way as well. Packed inside the Hurricane are two full-range drivers, 5-watt 2-inch mid-range speakers, 3-watt 33-millimeter tweeters, and a 10-watt 4-inch subwoofer. And, for when you do find yourself asking Hound various questions, there's an echo canceling mic to help it hear you clearly and accurately.
According to Boombotix's CEO Season Sullivan, "It's great to have those side skills, but for us, really the focus was on making a really great music experience first." Amazon's Echo was criticized upon its release for offering shallow and lackluster audio quality, so with Boombotix and SoundHound honing in on audio quality above all else, the Hurricane has potential to be a really attractive solution for audiophiles who want some smarts in their next Bluetooth speaker.
The Hurricane is currently available for purchase on Kickstarter for the price of $199, and shipments are expected to go out to backers sometime in late December.