Topic: Speakers

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    Google Reportedly Readying New Pixel Laptop and Smaller Home for Fall Launch (Aug 21, 2017)

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    Google Home Phone Call Function Rolls Out to Users in US and Canada (Aug 16, 2017)

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    Amazon Expands Program Paying Popular Alexa Developers (Aug 16, 2017)

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    Anker Debuts Cheaper Echo Dot Competitor Featuring Alexa (Aug 9, 2017)

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    ★ Facebook Reportedly Working on Video Chat Device, Voice Speaker (Aug 1, 2017)

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    Xiaomi Announces $45 Smart Voice Speaker (Jul 26, 2017)

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    Facebook Reported to be Working on Smart Speaker with Large Display (Jul 25, 2017)

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    Amazon Reported to be Working on Next-Generation Echo for Fall Release (Jul 13, 2017)

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    HomePod Purchase Intent is at 14% of iPhone Owners, per Raymond James Survey (Jul 11, 2017)

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    Alibaba Announces $73 Voice Speaker (Jul 5, 2017)

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    Samsung Reportedly Working on Bixby-Powered Home Speaker (Jul 5, 2017)

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    ★ Amazon Echo Show Reviews Suggest Solid Performance, Limitations, Creepy Factor (Jun 26, 2017)

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    ★ Apple Announces HomePod Home Audio System with Siri (Jun 5, 2017)

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    Amazon Adds Reminders and Named Timers to Alexa (Jun 2, 2017)

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    ★ Apple Starts Manufacturing Its Siri Speaker (May 31, 2017)

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    Google Execs Say Assistant Will Monetize Through E-Commerce and Ads (May 24, 2017)

    Though the original headline on this piece focuses on the e-commerce aspect, the actual content of the article makes clear that Google has every intention of serving up ads too. Google launched Shopping on Home a while back, so hearing that Google intends to monetize through e-commerce isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s interesting to hear confirmation from Google that this is its main focus, because though this is obviously a strength and a motivator for Amazon in this space, it clearly isn’t Google’s main focus. However, as I said, advertising is clearly a big part of that picture too, and it sounds like ads will mostly be served up as they are in other Google search products: alongside organic results when people are looking for something specific. The big question, then, is how that’s done – the first screen of classic Google search results has now been taken over by ads, something that only takes a scroll to get past, but that same experience on a voice device that majors on providing a single answer won’t fly. Linear interfaces like voice assistants can’t take up users’ time with ads before they get to the organic results. So despite these comments, there’s still lots we don’t know about how Google is going to make additional money from Home. And then there’s the point I made previously about the fact that charging real money for a device like this breaks the usual implied contract of free services coming with ads – users won’t have the same expectation of an ad-supported business model on a device like Home that they do with a free online service.

    via Recode

    ★ Google Makes Assistant and Home Announcements at I/O (May 17, 2017)

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    Amazon Partner Accuses it of Copying its Product for Echo Show (May 10, 2017)

    Amazon previously invested in Nucleus, a company that makes a tabletop videoconferencing system for the home, and now the company’s CEO is angry because Amazon has just released the Echo Show, which he sees as very similar. Two quick things to say about this: firstly, if you take an investment from a company like Amazon, you have to go in with your eyes open. You have to know that the reason for the investment is that the company is interested in the technology, which might mean to an outright acquisition of your company (best case scenario) or might simply enable it to learn about it and do its own thing (worst case scenario). If you don’t know that going in, that’s your fault. Secondly, it’s not like the Echo Show is a pure clone – it’s first and foremost an Echo, a concept Amazon can quite fairly say it has pioneered, and only secondarily a videoconferencing system. Yes, that element was emphasized in its video and so on, but that’s because it’s a big part about what’s new and different from this device compared with its previous Echo devices. This device does far more than that, though, and anyone suggesting it’s some kind of clone is on the wrong track. It sucks to be Nucleus right now, but it should have known this outcome was a strong possibility from the start.

    via Recode

    Microsoft is Readying HomeHub Assistant Feature for Families in Windows 10 (May 9, 2017)

    The Verge has been talking about a future Windows feature called HomeHub since December, but this week has some images that are designed to show how HomeHub will work in practice, and it’s likely we’ll see this revealed officially at Build this week. HomeHub is a somewhat family-centric virtual assistant for Windows 10, which will combine Cortana voice features and more visual features on a sort of always-on home screen. It looks like Microsoft sees this feature both as something that PCs will offer and as something that will be available on dedicated devices. The Verge is that it suggests Microsoft sees all these devices being effectively full Windows 10 PCs, which feels like a huge mistake given how streamlined these devices can and should be. Even though Microsoft has evolved in its culture and strategy in very positive ways over recent years, things like this make you realize how tied to its past strategy of putting Windows everywhere it still is. At the very least, this ought to be running the more streamlined Windows 10 S it announced last week. But I’m all for tech which helps families stay organized – something I’ve argued more tech companies need to be working on. Given the launch of Echo Show this morning, Microsoft will have a concrete competing example of the same concept to go up against, which will likely raise the bar for whatever it announces. It’s also possible we’ll have Apple’s version of this to look at by the time the next version of Windows ships in the fall, further raising the stakes.

    via The Verge

    Amazon Announces Alexa Calling and Messaging Coming to Other Echo Devices (May 9, 2017)

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