The digital voice assistant device market is in line for rapid growth in the coming years, according to Strategy Analytics, with Google Home and Amazon Echo competing for market share.Strategy research indicates that the market will see annual shipments of 1.8 million units this year, growing to 15.1 million units by 2020.
Strategy notes that low price points means that it is unlikely either Google or Amazon will turn a profit on hardware sales, with this however being “beside the point” for both companies.
“For Amazon, Alexa provides customers with an easy-to-use interface to order the digital and physical products the company offers today as well as those, like flights, that they might offer in the future,” Strategy states.
“Google already helps users to purchase flights, and with new offerings like Google Express, which provides same-day delivery from a long list of retailers, the company is encroaching on Amazon’s core business. Google Home will provide a natural language interface for all of the company’s services.”
While Amazon was first to market, having already sold millions of Alexa-enabled devices, Joe Branca, Strategy senior analyst, smart home strategies service, noted that, with the market still in its early stages, “an early presence won’t guarantee success over the long term”.
Branca added that “Google Home offers some unique benefits”.
“One of the biggest is the ability to recognise a specific user and offer a personalised response – something that’s going to be useful in a lot of smart home applications,” he commented.
“Google Home will also support synchronised multi-room audio and interactions with Chromecast, like starting a video stream to the TV.
“Google Home is not hugely different in spec to Amazon’s Echo, however its ability to control any cast-enabled device makes it a highly compelling offering for existing Google device owners.”