Amazon Is Pulling Out All the Stops Against Apple and Google in the Voice Assistant Wars

Although Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Echo homemaker / voice assistant has become a huge success and created positive media attention, the Alexa voice assistant that operates Echo hardware is still in crucial matters at a strategic disadvantage compared to Alphabet / Google , Apple, and Microsoft’s competing offerings. Google and Apple’s assistants each shipped hundreds of millions of mobile devices last in 2016, and Microsoft’s possibly on close to 200 million PCs. In comparison, Echo sales were likely only in seven figures. Theoretically, that would leave Google and Apple in a much better situation to develop dominant third-party networks for their assistants, as well as to enhance them in response to user voice commands. Ultimately, Amazon’s drive to both improve Alexa and place it within as many devices as possible for a very interesting battle.

In early March, Lenovo’s Motorola Mobility unit unveiled plans to package Alexa with the majority of its moving forward phones. Since then, Re / code has reported Amazon plans to release one or two Alexa devices this year that admits people to initiate phone calls by voice and also allow numerous devices as a home or office’s intercom system. Amazon hardware news site AFTVnews has also come across an Amazon.com site that indicates the company plans to release the home security camera with Alexa built in. These new features come out in less than two months after companies have not named Amazon displayed dozens of Alexa-powered devices. These included Alexa-powered speakers, robots, refrigerators, TV sets and alarm clocks, as well as a Huawei Android phone. Additionally, a lot of these home electronics and appliance makers broadcasted that their latest products can be measured via Alexa. The last fact highlights how prosperous Amazon has been at generating a hardware giant, app and Internet service ecosystem for Alexa. At CES, the Alexa now endorses over 7,000 third-party skills, up from just 1,000 last June. They cover everything from playing games to ordering Uber rides and Domino’s pizzas to governing home lights and thermostats to hearing sports scores and news stories.

Google and Apple have approached the calmer method in regards to constructing their voice assistant ecosystems. Some Android developers have taken advantage of Google’s Voice Interactions API, which released in 2015 and allows users to issue voice commands for third-party Android apps. In December, Google Assistant, the next-gen service that developed from the older Google Now, was opened up to developers. But now, developers can only support interactions with the Google Home speaker. Android phone support will arrive later. Apple finally opened up Siri to developers last June, after having previously combined with the numerous third-party apps. But for now, only six types of apps: calling, messaging, payments, photo, workout and ride-hailing apps are endorsed. Apple has also seen the gauge of implementation for its HomeKit platform, which released in 2014 and allows smart home devices to be controlled via Siri commands. However, releases of Alexa-capable smart home products have been outperforming those of HomeKit-capable products, thanks in no small part to the fact that Apple places many firmer requirements on hardware partners than does Amazon.

Jeff Bezos stated Amazon had over 1,000 people working on Alexa and the Echo line. Google still seems to be a tough competitor. In addition to being able to package Assistant with the world’s most popular mobile operating system, the company’s capability to assimilate with Google Search and its massive Knowledge Graph, as well as with other Google services such as Maps and Gmail, is an appreciated advantage. As well as its tremendous AI investments, which help with things like sustaining a conversation with a user and understanding the meaning of natural-language commands. On the flipside, Apple might be in a rougher position. While Siri is assured to provide a large user base as long as it continues to build into Apple hardware, even many Apple fans have complained that it has been declining in comparison to its competitors in both accuracy and functionality. It’s unlikely that Siri will be baked into third-party smart home devices, given Apple’s product philosophy. The incentives in this battle are elevated, the more consumers welcome voice as a computing interface. However, they will never completely replace the use of touchscreens, keyboards and mice, the enhancements made to voice search and assistant platforms as they take in more user data, along with their increasing usefulness as more products and services join an ecosystem, is clearly creating A change.

In May, Google revealed a fifth of all the searches it handled via its mobile app and Android devices involved voice. For Google, the ascent of voice shows some monetization obstacle, since it can decrease the number of times a user making a query sees the text-based search that remain by far Google’s most profitable engine. However, the company is evidently better off embracing the trend with a service that combines Google Search and in many cases turns up to search results page to proceed with a voice response rather than abandoning the space to competing services. Google, debates that a lot of voice search activity balances rather than removes text-based searches, therefore, expands its addressable market.

Amazon, profits from Alexa’s increasing reputation both via hardware sales and the integration of its e-commerce and digital content services with the platform. It certainly could be a little too easy to place an Amazon order via Alexa. Additionally, Amazon Web Services (AWS) powers many third-party Alexa Skills through its AWS Lambda service, though it’s also achievable for developers to use another cloud provider. Alexa will be unwrapped over the next 10 months. She will be able to get the most out of her time. It is also likely that smart home makers will start to consider Alexa integration as a priority, and that number of total skills endorsed by the platform will surge past 10,000.

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