Move Over Echo
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Microsoft just announced  it has entered the market with its own voice activated assistant device called the harmon/kardon Invoke with Cortana by Microsoft. Roger Fingas, appleinsider reports that like its rivals the Invoke will, “support functions around music, calendars, reminders, traffic, and news” and, of course, smarthome features and includes “natively support hands-free calling through Microsoft’s Skype.” Google Home doesn’t support calling yet. The Echo Show does support video calling. The Invoke should ship this fall only in the USA, with pricing yet to be set. To set up the device people will be able to use Windows 10 or the Cortana app for iPhone and Android.

We reported about Amazon Echo in an earlier post (and the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot) which initially tech critics really lambasted the device calling it ‘dumb as rocks.’ However, Amazon kept marketing the Echo and now has sold more than 11 million Echo devices, Morgan Stanley says, according to an article in The Seattle Times. While the Echo is limited in what it can do, the public who bought them are not listening to the critics and Amazon keeps coming out with new versions, like the recently released Echo Look.

Google has also entered the market with a similar device, Google Home, announced in May 2016 and released in the United States in November 2016 (Wikipedia). Adam Levy, The Motely Fool, suggests in an article posted in March 2017 that “Strategy Analytics estimates Google will sell 1 million Google Home devices by mid-year.”  Google has released the Actions on Google developer kit in December 2016 to entice developers to improve the device. Adam adds, “Amazon is poised to win the long-term competition even if Google Home is catching up in the short term.” This is because the Google Home  “device currently has around 80 Actions, which is nothing compared to the 10,000-plus functionalities available with Alexa (Echo).”

Google entering the home assistant device without a doubt is good for consumers who now have a choice. There are rumors that Apple may enter this market with its own voice activated assistant using Siri which may be announced later this year.