If one conclusion can be drawn from an event as multifaceted and exciting as CES 2018 was, it’s that Amazon’s Alexa continues to be the leading voice assistant in terms of both usability and in Amazon’s many partnerships with smart home device manufacturers.
Alexa as a Platform
CES 2018 was marked by Amazon solidifying their approach to Alexa as a platform. Their voice assistant is well past the point of being the quixotic voice inhabiting a single speaker or Amazon-branded phone; Amazon’s new partnerships position the Alexa technology as the platform behind everything from Kohler’s bathroom smart home tech to smart TVs from many manufacturers, to Whirlpool’s entire smart home lineup.
Amazon’s massive online retail presence likely gives them an advantage in this area over other major competitors like Apple and Google, who lack the same direct lines of communication and partnership that Amazon cultivated over many years.
Competition Pushes Ahead
Google Assistant lacks the same brand recognition in the voice assistant space, despite the search behemoth making their entry into the market one of their top priorities. CES 2018 looked bright for Google Assistant’s steady growth, with the platform crossing 1,500 different supported devices on the market.
However, many of these devices support Alexa as well, and often as the primary voice assistant platform. The prominent “Just ask Amazon Alexa” stickers are seen as a major selling point for many marketers. And, in general, even though Google Assistant’s partnerships grew massively with what they showed at CES 2018 alone, their market penetration doesn’t match with Alexa’s 4,000 supported devices.
When First to the Market Counts
The positioning of Google Assistant is interesting at the moment. Most categories of devices are supported. Android smartphones and Google accounts have great compatibility with the platform that Alexa can’t provide. It’s a useful, powerful platform that beats out the competition in terms of providing useful answers.
But Alexa is, well, Alexa. They weren’t the first mainstream voice assistant, but they came up with the key innovation of freeing theirs from the smartphone space and immediately marketing Alexa as a presence in your home. Either platform is a fantastic consumer choice for various reasons. Alexa’s market leadership, however, is in large part because we’ve all become very familiar with “her” voice and how to effortlessly use the platform.