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The big story at CES 2018: Google vs Amazon (Video)
Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant was the quiet star of the show at last year’s CES. The technology was packed into a variety of smart home products, ranging from speakers and radios through to lamps and vacuum cleaners. This year, Google Assistant is at it too, vying for support in a range of third party products as it looks to become the voice assistant of choice in your home.
Oddly enough, Amazon and Google have historically been two major names that you’d barely notice at trade shows, as their hardware businesses have been secondary to their software services. CES 2018 is a different game for the two giants, as they go head to head not only showing off wares that already support their voice assistants, but also courting additional third party companies into their ecosystem.
The smart assistant with the biggest product catalog and widest range of features is the one that will surely come out on top.
As the smart assistant and smart home markets continue to grow, we’re going to see an increasing variety of traditional electronic devices and new use cases boast new smart capabilities. Everything ranging from fridges to retail environments, and even transportation will likely be involved.
The two ecosystems are also likely to continue to expand their range of “skills” and “actions” to enable us to do more. The smart assistant with the biggest product catalog and widest range of features is the one that will surely come out on top.
Clearly, CES is more important to the two companies than ever this year, and we’re already seeing an increased presence from the two at the 2018 show. Both companies will be sending their executives out to booths, Amazon is hosting an outdoor promotional area right near the epicenter of Las Vegas Convention Center, and Google has plastered “Hey Google” ads all over the Las Vegas Monorail and numerous billboards. Even so, we’ll likely see more of the two assistants incorporated into products showcased by other companies.
To see how this showdown shakes out at CES 2018, we’re keeping track of the best and most interesting products that boast Alexa and/or Google Assistant support.
- Garmin Speak Plus — a dash cam that not only records your drive but also offers collision and lane departure warnings, as well as Alexa support for music, weather, and traffic updates from inside your vehicle.
- Roav Viva — a Bluetooth car kit developed by Anker that offers Alexa controls and fast charging inside your car.
- Vuzix AR glasses — augmented reality and Alexa combined in one. Vuzix glasses can display maps, sports scores, and much more. You just have to ask Alexa out loud.
- HiSense TVs — access built-in apps like Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, TikiLIVE using voice commands on the third largest TV manufacturer’s 2018 4K lineup.
- Kohler Konnect — smart shower, bathtub, mirrors and toilers that are all connected? Check. Control them with a dedicated app or via voice Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
- Windows 10 laptops – Amazon has struck a deal with Microsoft, Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo to pre-install Alexa on Windows laptops scheduled for release in 2018.
- Toyota and Lexus – Alexa will be making its way to Toyota’s Entune 3.0 and Lexus Enform 2.0 systems this year, with many more models coming in 2019.
- Smart Displays – rivalling the Amazon Echo Show, Google is partnering with JBL, LG, and Sony to develop home hubs with built in displays. Lenovo has also shown-off two of its smart display hubs.
- iHome iGV1 — a Google Assistant-powered alarm clock with a dimmable dot-matrix display. It also features all the familiar Bluetooth music casting options from the Google Home.
- SŌLIS SO-2000 – if you’re looking for a smart alarm clock, the SŌLIS SO-2000 will be arriving in mid-2018 for $169.99.
- Haier Android TVs — Haier’s 2018 FHD and 4K range will be powered by Android TV, building on its success with Chromecast-enabled sets. This offers familiar services like Netflix, Play Store access, and YouTube, alone with integrated Google Assistant.
- LG ThinQ TVs — offering a selection of third party voice assistants, as well as the company’s of DeepThinQ AI to offer home hub functions directly from your TV remote. Also supports Alexa, and LG’s ThinQ Speaker boasts Assistant support too.
- Schlage Smart Lock — secure your home and check the locked status of your door with voice commands. Already supports Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
- Gourmia kitchen appliances — the company unveiled four kitchen appliances that can all be setup and controlled via Google Assistant. There’s an air fryer, pressure cooker, sous vide & multi cooker, and a coffee maker to put in your IoT kitchen.
- Automotive via Android Auto – Google Assistant will be integrated into Android Auto in the near future, bringing smart controls to over 400 models from 40 manufacturers.
- JBL Everest headphones – Assistant integration across over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear Bluetooth headphones with long lasting battery life and premium sound. We also went hands-on with the company’s Link View smart speaker.
- Zolo Model Zero – Anker unveiled a stylish smart speaker under its Zolo sub-brand name. But it won’t be available until Fall 2018.
- Dish – Dish Network boxes will support Assistant voice commands laster in 2018. The company’s Hopper, Joey, and Wally boxes will receive the update.
And the winner is…
Based on sheer presence alone it has to be Google Assistant. Vegas is plastered with “Hey Google” advertisements, there’s a massive Google booth in the Convention Center parking lot, and the company even daubed the monorail in its colors. Not forgetting that Assistant has made an appearance in a huge number of products unveiled in Las Vegas this week, greatly improving its profile. We’ve probably haven’t managed to include all of them in the above list.
That being said, Alexa is also increasing its presence in products too and a surprising number of manufacturers are actually supporting both platforms in a bid to reach as many consumers as possible. It’s difficult to find a product that doesn’t boast either of the two, making smart assistants the undisputed winner of the show.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Google Assistant is going to come out on top over 2018. If anything the company’s huge presence at CES 2018 underlines how much work Google still has to do to catch up with Alexa in terms on install base. Alexa smart speakers are expected to have outsold Google Home products by three to one throughout 2017, so the consumer momentum is clearly with Amazon. The presence of Assistant in a huge number of products at CES might just help to close the gap over the coming year.
Keep it tuned to Android Authority as we round up even more smart devices from CES 2018!