Unlike Google, Amazon Struggling to Find Smart Display Partners
As the last bit of information is squeezed out of the Consumer Electronics Show, the settled dust is building a bit of tension between Google and Amazon, two of the biggest names in consumer electronics industry.
The narrative follows a few different talking points, namely that digital assistants are coming in all shapes and sizes and the level of control they bring is useful to all corners of most industries. We saw a huge surge of Amazon Dot acceptance at last years CEDIA, underscoring Alexa's decisive victory at CES 2017, but this year was all Google.
"Ok Google" plastered not only the trains, buildings, and booths of CES 2018, but it's also finding itself getting cozy with a lot of big manufacturers. Most recently, the Google Assistant was getting cozy with JBL, LG, Sony, and Lenovo, making a line of Smart Display platforms that rival the Echo Show.
The purpose of these smart displays is to bring a bright screen to the otherwise ominous voice coming out of a speaker. It also takes a few pages out of Apple's ecosystem, offering synergy between all things Android to push information any way you want (i.e. phone to display, display to watch, watch to computer, etc.) It also supports Google Duo, Maps, Youtube, Photos, and will probably have support for the rest of Google's enormous library of apps very soon. And just like Google Home, it will soon take over as a hub for the rest of the connected home devices.
This first batch of smart displays from Google showed up to CES at the JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony booths, not showing any distinct branding from either Google or their manufacturers. By contrast, Alexa not only underwhelmed CES goers but the only manufacturer of Alexa smart display is, well, Amazon.
Surely it's a curious case. In theory, people should be banging down the doors to partner with Amazon. In the short history of digital assistants, Amazon has been really good at hitting the market quickly. On that same short timeline, this is probably the first time Amazon has fallen behind another company.
However, the biggest concern should be how quickly Google is doing it. It's painting a big picture. In one short year, Google infiltrated all the same markets as Amazon, namely smart TVs, and this step to outpace Alexa could be the first of many small victories that prove Amazon has its flaws.