CES 2018: Google challenges Amazon with smart home offering

Pat Wise
January 14, 2018

Today, Lenovo has introduced its new Smart Display which is equipped with some of the most advanced technical features including Google's own, Voice Assistant.

Meanwhile Amazon is spreading Alexa far and wide to all sorts of different products that you would not typically associate with digital assistants like bathroom mirrors, shower heads, mesh routers, headphones, TV, navigation devices and even Windows computers.

It's hard to gauge all the important trends at CES if you don't roam the show floor (I leave that to my colleague Dean Takahashi).

In related news, JBL also announced the LINK View, another smart display device running the Google Assistant out of the box, although we don't have any info about its price either. We like free stuff. The Google Assistant recently pushed to LG's Smart Speakers.

CES showcases the tech trends that will shape the year ahead.

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The Google Assistant could echo Amazon's Alexa in selling products and services by voice, insiders claim, with the search giant hunting ways to close the gap between the smart speaker technologies. But apparently, that wasn't the real Google Assistant.

On the basic technology level, Alexa has, for competition, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Samsung's Bixby.

Google and Amazon are expanding their efforts to promote their digital assistants to a number of third-party manufacturers, as the war between the two escalates. These products will be developed by Google's hardware partners-the likes of Lenovo, JBL, and Sony.

GOOGL stock hit all-time highs this month, but to keep the momentum, the company needs to overcome the Alexa problem. If you were already going to buy a new electronic shown off at CES, then the addition of Alexa is probably a nice bonus. Assistant for Android Auto will perform actions like controlling your smart home, play music from Spotify or Google Play Music, get directions from Google Maps or Waze and send and receive messages from services like WhatsApp, among other things. The Smart Display has builtin Google Assistant to get things done. But the Amazon Echo has a 68% share in the rapidly growing smart speaker market. LG of course had plenty to show off, namely its new Nano Cell Super UHD TVs and the new OLED G8 TV models, both of which look stylish, promising, and are full of improvements over last year's TVs from the brand.

"At Amazon, we really feel that this represents the next major disruption in computing", Isbitski said.

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