After the launch of the Amazon Echo, Google launched Google Home. Amazon followed up with the Amazon Echo Show – a smart speaker with a screen – and predictably, Google looks set to hit back with its own offering this year.
That’s according to Nikkei Asian Review, which claims the smart display will be with us this “holiday season”. The company allegedly has big ambitions for it too, with high sales targets attached.
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“Google targets to ship some 3 million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen,” NAR’s source claimed. “It’s an aggressive plan.”
Aggressive is putting it mildly. To put things into perspective, Amazon – which has had more luck getting Echos into homes than Google has had with its speaker – only managed to sell 315,000 Echo Shows in 2017, according to research company Canalys.
Of course, Google does have something of a competitive advantage here: it owns YouTube – the single most popular internet video platform on the planet. Crucially, while YouTube used to work on the Echo Show, it doesn’t anymore, following some escalating tit-for-tat kicked off by Amazon’s refusal to sell Google’s Chromecast.
Add Chromecast support, and you have quite a compelling offering, if you can wait. Of course, if you want it now, there are Google Assistant-powered smart displays already out there: Lenovo has its own Lenovo Smart Display device, and JBL has Link View.
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It may seem odd for Google to wait for rivals put out Google-powered hardware before it has a go, but it has form here. It took years for Google to make its own Android-powered Nexus phones, for example, and it seems that we’re only just about to see its first Wear OS device with the Google Pixel Watch.
In other words, Google is used to letting other companies iron out the kinks before it joins the fray. Hopefully a Google smart display will be worth the wait.
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