The software code of the latest version of Google’s Android app revealed a number of references to a device or software interface, code-named Quartz, that can display visual notifications on a screen, reports AndroidPolice.
This follows earlier reports that Google was working on a new Home device, known internally as Manhattan, that would be a direct competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show, giving consumers who wanted to use Google’s smart speaker platform a screen-equipped option.
Introducing a version of the Google Home with a screen would allow Google to counter Amazon. BI Intelligence identified the Echo Show’s screen as the distinctive feature that was driving potential customer excitement about the device and pushing consumers to perceive the Show as more useful than other smart speakers coming to market. And Amazon’s new variants, especially the Echo Spot, continue to expand the variety of smart speaker form factors consumers can choose from.
Google has built a wide variety of features for the Quartz device or software layer to display on a screen. These include watching YouTube videos, displaying timers, showing photos or maps, and checking weather using voice commands and an always-on display. It’s possible that this could be a software interface that allows consumers to speak to Google Assistant and display the output through Quartz on a Chromecast-equipped television. However, given Google’s ambition in the smart speaker market and rumors of the screen-equipped device, it seems more likely Google will soon be introducing another new version of the Google Home.
Amazon has a major lead in the smart speaker market already, and Google is playing catch up. The e-commerce giant has sold over 15 million Echo devices, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, and boasts a 76% market share. Google could potentially take advantage of its more capable voice assistant and its massive smartphone user base to popularize its smart speakers, but the time to leverage those assets could be running out, as Amazon continues to build its own install base and to cement Alexa as the voice assistant consumers associate with the smart speaker.
Smart speakers — Amazon’s Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user’s voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user’s home, among other things.
The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon’s recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple’s HomePod.
Peter Newman, research analyst for BI Intelligence, has put together a Smart Speaker report that analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, this report evaluates each device’s potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. Finally, the report draws some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Amazon’s new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
- Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
- The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.
In full, the report:
- Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
- Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
- Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.
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