The voice assistant race seems to be narrowing to a two-horse match between Amazon and Google, and these days, the two companies are constantly trying to outdo each other. Google pulled out all the stops at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, where it announced smart displays and a string of integrations with third-party speakers and Google products such as Android Auto. Not to be outdone by Google, Amazon had quite a few third-party devices with Alexa integration on display. The retailer didn’t have much to share at CES 2018 regarding its smart home speaker Echo lineup, but it made up for it this week with news of Echo Spot availability for the UK, Germany, and Austria.
The Echo Spot, which goes on sale in the European countries ahead of a launch in Australia and New Zealand next week, will start at 119.99 pounds (~$170) in the UK and 129.99 euros in Germany and Austria (~$161). It retails for $130 in the US.
The Echo Spot is basically a cheaper, smaller Echo Show with a built-in 2W 1.4-inch speaker, a microphone, Bluetooth connectivity, and 3.5mm audio jack. It features a 2.5-inch circular screen, and starting this week, Amazon’s rolling out a home security camera feature that’ll let customers in the UK, Germany, and Austria view live streams on the Spot with a voice command.
Amazon and Google seem to be taking a very similar approach when it comes to intelligent assistants. Both companies are trying to onboard as many partners as possible — fact, some devices now come with support for both Alexa and the Google Assistant. However, Amazon and Google diverge in their approaches to high-end home speakers. While the former heavily invested in experimental form factors (e.g., the circle-shaped Echo Spot and camera-touting Echo Look), Google pursued the premium audio market (Google Home Max). Time will tell which was the right strategy.
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