Amazon is making a big bet on the Echo, its smart home device that does everything from making phone calls to ordering pizza. At a surprise event last week, Amazon unveiled two new Echos plus a bunch of Echo-related gadgets, which may help it widen its lead in the market for voice-controlled speakers with a personal digital assistant (that would be Alexa).
As of August, 13.5% of US consumers surveyed by investment firm Cowen & Co. said they had an Amazon Echo, compared to 5.9% of consumers with a Google Home. Google is expected to announce the Google Home Mini, a voice-assisted device shaped like a tiny football, at its Pixel event today in San Francisco, California. It could also introduce a larger, fancier device featuring stereo speakers.
Voice-controlled speakers and virtual personal assistants are becoming more popular with Americans, with an estimated 60.5 million expected to use one at least once a month this year. The most common use for both the Amazon Echo and Google Home is listening to music, closely following by requesting information, according to Cowen’s consumer survey. Google Home is slightly more popular than the Echo for ordering food and adjusting other internet-connected home settings.