WHICH SMARTRT SPEAKER?
At the time of writing, Amazon’s Echo Dot is the he only direct rival to the Google oogle Home Mini, but that will change in the run-up to Christmas.
Amazon is licensing its s Alexa voice assistant to other manufacturers, includingng Sony and Sonos, who will buildild access tto it into their own home speakers.
Audio quality will be one selling point, along with microphone reception: Amazon’s and Google’s larger units can pick up your voice more reliably from further away, even with background noise, which avoids having to repeat yourself. Amazon has recently cut the price of its full-size Echo to £90 and introduced the £140 Echo Plus, which promises even better sound and smsmartesmarter operation. Google has also aannounced a pricier Home Max. We’ll be testing them soon.
So far, one difference betwbetween Alexa and Google Assistassistant is that more thirdpartypaparty services and accessories support Alexa, meaning it can inteintegrateat a widewider range of ‘smart’ stuff, like controlling lightbulbs or unlocking your front door.
We’d expect Google to try to catch up, and they’ll both have more competition soon. Apple’s Siri will be available in the company’s Homepod before Christmas, but at an expected £349 we can’t see it proving very popular. Microsoft’s Cortana will also make its debut in a box designed by speaker maker Harman Kardon.