Behind smart gadgets, Amazon and Google waging a big war


The two companies are battling for supremacy at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The competition to build software people can manage with their voice is one of the hottest topics in consumer technology, drawing, in addition to Amazon and Google, the attention of giants like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung.

Apple and Google have big leads, since their rival digital assistants are already on millions of smartphones and computers, according to Blau. This would be a direct challenge to Amazon.

Amazon's Alexa smart assistant was the quiet star of the show at last year's CES. While the company didn't directly attend the event, their product Alexa was found in a range of devices including Kohler's mirror which had the AI inside it. Sounds more like the one from the fairy tales but it was an actual product.

Realizing it has a bit of catching up to do and possibly may need to redefine the ground rules, Google this week put the consumer electronics world on notice that this no longer is a one-horse race. Not just at CES 2018 - where it installed a massive tent - but also on billboards throughout the city and even on the side of the Las Vegas monorail.

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Qualcomm earlier this week announced the launch of two Qualcomm Home Hub platforms that support Google's Android Things. Toyota Connected CEO Zack Hicks told reporters that "we're not exclusive" with Amazon, and that nothing prevents Toyota from partnering with others. ADR (NYSE:TM) will start offering Alexa in its cars.

LG's vision for its artificial intelligence platform includes enabling appliances, cars, air conditioners and other "everyday" devices to adapt to users' individual preferences as well as collaborate on tasks.

Google has been releasing a barrage of partner announcements for Google Assistant-powered smart speakers from well know audio companies including JBL, Altec Lansing, Bang & Olufsen and Klipsch. Amazon's Echo line controlled about 73 percent of that market, while Google Home, which debuted in late 2016, controlled the remaining 27 percent.

A report in Bloomberg suggests that Google may launch a re-vamped online store in February, with devices featuring Google Assistant front and center.