Google is aiming to challenge Amazon’s Echo Show by releasing its own smart speaker equipped with a screen in time for this year’s holiday season, Nikkei Asian Review reported today.
In a report from Taipei, the Japan-based publication quoted an unnamed industry source as saying that Google is planning to ship an initial batch of 3 million units. “It’s an aggressive plan,” the source said.
Google declined to comment on the report. “We do not comment on rumors or speculation,” the Google press team told GeekWire in an email.
Amazon did not immediately respond to GeekWire’s inquiry.
Nikkei Asian Review noted that the new product, based on Google’s Smart Display platform, would round out the Google Home lineup of smart speakers equipped with the voice-enabled Google Assistant artificial intelligence agent.
That lineup includes Google Home Max, which is analogous to Amazon Echo; and the Home Mini, which goes up against the Echo Dot.
Google’s smart-speaker-plus-screen platform already is being incorporated into devices made by outside vendors, such as the $250 Lenovo Smart Display.
For what it’s worth Lenovo’s device scored an 8.6 rating from CNET, compared with last year’s rating of 6.9 for the Echo Show (currently discounted to $130). In a GeekWire Geared Up review, contributor Tim Ellis said Lenovo’s device is better designed than the Echo Show but doesn’t have all the functionality that Google Home Users would probably want.
Sony, JBL and LG also have Google-powered Smart Display devices in the works.
Amazon dominated the smart speaker market last year, but the latest set of data from the Canalys research firm suggests that Google Home beat Amazon Echo in market share during this year’s second quarter, with 32.3 percent as opposed to 24.5 percent for Amazon.
Alibaba and Xiaomi have become more competitive, and Apple’s Siri-enabled HomePod is in the smart-speaker fray as well.
This week, Microsoft and Amazon started rolling out the first integrations between their AI voice assistants. The blurred boundaries mean that users will be able to call on Microsoft’s Cortana assistant on Amazon devices, and bring up Amazon’s Alexa assistant on Windows 10 PCs and Harmon Kardon Invoke speakers.