The battle of the voice-controlled home assistants hots up

Google’s Home and Home Mini devices have been available in Australia for some months now, giving it an early lead, especially with aggressive pricing on the Google Home Mini leading up to Christmas.

However, Amazon’s Alexa-powered range of Echo devices made their way to Australian shores this month, and today – February 9th, 2018 – is the global release of Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod. Australia no longer lags behind and joins the US today in having three major voice-controlled home assistants available.

I have been watching these keenly; not only do these devices offer home automation – dimming the lights or turning the air conditioner off, for example – but they offer news and weather, streaming music, interaction with your calendar and other productivity and information services.

I also believe this is an area for enterprises to watch carefully. Last November I was privileged to attend AWS’ re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas where Amazon announced Alexa for Business is coming – offering voice-powered interactivity with SalesForce, for instance. What struck me most at that event was Amazon.Com’s CTO and Vice-President Werner Vogel’s statement “Voice represents the next major disruption in computing.”

I’ve picked up one of each and will be putting them through their paces. For now – day one of all three devices being on the market – I can already tell you the Apple HomePod speaker is truly awesome and lives up to Apple’s promise, while Google and Alexa lead in terms of jokes.

Check out my video clips as I quiz the devices over here on iTWire, and my tips on what they do well and not so well, including which one is right for you, and my in-depth feature on Amazon Alexa and the range of Echo devices.

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