10 May, 2017
With Echo Show, Amazon Seizes The Lead In The Race To Artificial Intelligence
Riding on a recent surge in share price, Amazon sent another shock wave through the tech world on Tuesday by launching a smart Wi-Fi speaker that not only hears what you say, but also shows you what it sees. This 7-inch touchscreen-equipped digital assistant — Echo Show — is the latest addition to the Alexa family, which began as a simple voice-controlled alarm clock and is fast becoming the central hub of digitally connected homes. All your home appliances and accessories, including your vehicle, will soon be connected to the Internet and voice controlled. Someday in the future, when the milk is running low, your fridge will text you a shopping list while routing your Volkswagen to the closest Walmart on the way home.
This vision is not new. For years, smart home automation has been touted by IT giants like Apple and Microsoft, as well as by upstarts like Nest and Canary. What most distinguishes Amazon is the speed of execution. According to eMarketer, some 60 million Americans use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month — that’s one-fifth of the number of smartphone users. Amazon’s Echo leads the market by a margin of over 70%, leaving Google with less than 25% of the market share and all others, including Samsung, LG, and Harmon Kardon, with negligible single-digit shares.