Can Apple Reclaim Voice Leadership With HomePod Mini?
Although Siri marked the dawn of voice assistants back in 2011, the voice tech landscape has primarily been driven by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in recent years. However, Apple is now emerging as a key player through its bid to make Siri ubiquitous. The company’s 2018 release of the HomePod was its first foray into smart speakers and signaled the company’s interest in competing directly in the voice assistant speaker space. HomeKit, Apple’s software ecosystem that coordinates Siri and other smart home appliances to work together, is another challenge to Alexa and Google Assistant and their interconnected web of assistant-enhanced products. Furthermore, Project Connected Home over IP’s goal is to create devices that can accommodate any of the three assistants which may lead to more Apple users choosing Siri as their default home assistant. With Apple’s recent unveiling of its new, affordable HomePod smart speaker and updated iOS with improved Siri support, the company is determined to make headway and compete to be a voice leader.
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The Year of the Sphere
Apple recently introduced its new HomePod Mini smart speaker, the $99 sister to the original $299 HomePod. Armed with a spherical structure (where have we seen that before?), mesh covering, and touch surface controls, the new device squares off with the new Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio. Although the HomePod Mini will sell at a higher price point than its popular competitors, the ability to expand HomeKit is a major breakthrough. iPhone fanatics will be able to use Siri, currently the most popular voice assistant in the world, wherever they go, further cementing the future of a voice world with more choices. More on CNET
There’s an Action for That
With the new feature ‘App Actions,’ Android users can now use Google Assistant voice commands to perform tasks within mobile apps. Initially, Assistant could only open Android apps, but now shortcuts can directly search within apps, order food, post on social media, and play music. Apps across finance, ridesharing, productivity, travel, shopping, and social categories are incorporating App Actions, and include names like Spotify, Twitter, Etsy, Postmates, Nike Run Club, and more. Users can say, “Hey Google, order a sandwich on Postmates” or create custom phrases for ease. This upgrade, along with Siri shortcuts and Alexa Apps, underscores the movement toward creating faster and more convenient voice-enabled mobile experiences. More on TechCrunch
Hey Google, Find Me Something Interesting to Watch
New Samsung TVs will now deploy Google Assistant through the TVs’ remote controls. With the feature, TV viewers can use commands to navigate channels, open applications, alter volume, and even control other smart devices. But because Bixby is the default, you’ll have to specify that you want to use Google Assistant. This partnership perpetuates Bixby’s uncertain future, especially after the discussions of Google Assistant and the Play Store being promoted over Bixby and the Galaxy Store on Android phones. However, it is clear that the voice-enabled TV category is another growing segment that tech companies are using to expand their footprint. More on The Verge
Stats Don’t Lie
49% of TV-based voice assistants are projected to be in use in 2024. (data via MediaPost)
22% The percentage that L’Oreal Vietnam sales increased using an end-to-end conversational commerce campaign on Facebook. (data via WARC)
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The State of Voice Commerce
Did you know that 40% of UK consumers are using voice to make a purchase? Our friends at Vixen Labs have released a new report examining voice commerce in the UK with exclusive insights on voice shopping behavior. Learn more about how consumers are adopting voice tech, transacting in new voice-first ways, and creating opportunities for businesses. Get the free report here.