Google preparing to launch display-equipped smart speakers

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San Francisco, Aug 17 (IANS) Google is reportedly preparing to launch a display-equipped smart speaker in a direct competition with Amazon and Alibaba Group Holding in the voice-activated gadgets category.

“Google targets to ship some three million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen. It’s an aggressive plan,” Nikkei Asian Review quoted an industry source as saying on Thursday.

The new product would be part of the Google Home range of smart speakers, running on Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Google Assistant, similar to Amazon’s “Echo Show”, which is a pair of two-inch speakers with a 7-inch touchscreen that displays visual output for Alexa’s responses.

Google’s upcoming model with the display is still likely to rely on voice commands, but users should be able to play YouTube videos, check their calendars and view maps, the report added.

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The Android developer’s AI speaker lineup currently features the standard Google Home, the cost-effective Home Mini and the high-end Home Max.

The first two options are positioned against Amazon’s regular Echo and Echo Dot, while the top-of-the-line model competes with Apple’s HomePod, which comes with the Siri voice assistant.

The search engine giant accounted for 36 per cent of over 9 million smart speakers units shipped in the January-March period of 2018 with Amazon acquiring a 28 per cent market share.

Other technology players, including JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony have also signed up to make screen-equipped smart speakers.

–IANS

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