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Amazon Echo vs Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo vs Amazon Echo Dot

2014 was the limelight of Amazon’s ingenuity and innovation, the Amazon Echo. Even after more than three years from its release, the Echo is still considered as one of the best smart speakers for any household in the US.

The release of its compact version, the Echo Dot gave the opportunity for some speakers to adapt the Alexa voice assistant. Having Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their systems transforms their usual audio functionalities into voice-responsive smart speakers.

If you’re wondering about the differences between these two Echo series, let’s make a good comparison between the Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot.

Design and Build

The most obvious difference between the Echo and the Echo Dot is their design and build. Amazon’s Echo is a 9.3-inch cylindrical tower with a diameter of 3.3 inches. The smart speaker’s bottom half has a speaker grille, while the top has a ring of light that illuminates when you say the wake word ‘Alexa.’

You can use the Alexa voice assistant integrated with the Echo smart speakers to manage your audio settings, tell your current time and weather.

The Echo Dot smart speaker is a compact-sized device which resembles a hockey puck. This tiny speaker looks like a top cut-off portion of the Amazon Echo. It has the same diameter but stands at only 1.5 inches tall.

The Echo weighs approximately 1,049 grams while the Echo Dot which is about one-third of the Amazon Echo’s height weighs only about 250 grams.

The Amazon Echo Dot has the same light ring found on the Amazon Echo, which indicates when Alexa is listening. This ring has a twisting wheel that can be used to manage the volume of your audio. There are two function buttons on top which are the microphone off and action buttons.

Both speakers have micro USB port for charging. However, the Echo Dot can connect to an external speaker either by plugging it into its 3.5mm port using an audio cable or connecting via Bluetooth. This feature allows the compact speaker to improve its audio performance.

On the other hand, the Echo is just a standalone smart speaker that can’t be linked to other speakers. But its 2-way active speakers with bass reflex make the Echo loud enough to enjoy music and radio.

Both the Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot contain the same seven omnidirectional far-field microphones that can pick your voice up anywhere inside your house. But there are differences between the audio qualities of the two devices.

Sound Quality

Both smart speakers have a built-in microphone, but the Echo’s 360-degree speaker undersized the Echo Dot’s compact size and lower sound quality.

When it comes to the speakers’ audio quality, the Echo provides a decent level of bass and resonance for listening to your favorite tunes. The audio performance of the Echo is enough for an ordinary user’s ear unless you’re a major audiophile.

The Echo Dot has even less when it comes to audio quality. This tiny speaker wasn’t designed to blast out good quality sound. It’s just enough to hear an alarm or acknowledge a command. And because of its limited audio capability, Amazon recommends this speaker be placed at least three feet away from an external speaker.

The Echo Dot works fine for verbal interaction with Alexa, but you can notice the speaker’s tinny sound quality.

Functionality

When it comes to both speakers’ range of capabilities, the Echo and Echo Dot are pretty much identical.

Both devices get activated by saying the wake words “Alexa,” “Computer,” or “Amazon.” The voice assistant Alexa is intelligent enough to understand and respond to a long list of voice-activated commands. Some of the commonly asked questions that can be answered by Alexa include telling you the current date, time or weather, playing music, and answering silly questions.

Amazon boasts its Echo devices to have more than 130 app integrations which include Uber, Skyscanner, and National Rail.

If your smart home is designed with smart heating and lighting devices, Alexa can act as your personal assistant to help you control your smart home devices with apps like Hive, Netatmo, and Philips Hue.

Compatibility

While the Amazon Echo is created as a single speaker device, the Echo Dot’s audio performance is at its best when connected to an external speaker.

Amazon said that the Echo Dot’s compatibility with other speakers has been tested and certified with some Bluetooth speakers of Bose and Ultimate Ears. Other wireless Bluetooth speakers with 3.5mm audio port and audio cable may connect with the Echo Dot, but you may not get full functionality of the smart speaker.

Price

One of the significant factors when deciding which smart speaker to buy is the smart speaker’s price.

The Amazon Echo originally costs $179 while the Echo Dot is apparently much cheaper, about two times less expensive with a selling price of $99. But remember that the Echo Dot needs an external speaker to function better. So, you may need to include the cost of an external speaker if you don’t have one.

Regardless of their sizes and costs, these Echo devices still have all the same assistant capabilities.

Limitations

Though these Echo smart speakers have a built-in array of seven omnidirectional microphones, there are instances when the speakers’ responses are inconsistent. Common questions may not be answered correctly. Sometimes, the speakers are confused with similar sounding words which end up with poor or inaccurate responses to commands.

The speakers’ default location is Seattle, which is Amazon’s headquarters. You have to set your current location manually to get more accurate results on a weather forecast and current date and time. Smartphones also need to activate its GPS receivers so that their voice assistants will be able to identify the correct location, time, date, and weather forecast.

Interaction and communication with the Echo are currently available in English and German languages. But Alexa continues to learn better, and Amazon is working to improve their voice assistant’s capabilities.

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home vs. Apple Homepod

Apple was like a ticking time bomb when it unveiled its latest addition to the growing clash of smart speakers, the Apple Homepod.

“It’s not about being first. It’s about being the best, and giving users an experience that delights them every time.” Apple CEO, Tim Cook said during an interview.

By December, Apple promises to realize the idea that chronological order doesn’t define greatness. But still, you might wonder how Apple would sway the market that’s known to Amazon and Google.

Apple Homepod: Not your average smart speaker

‘Hit the enemy where it’s unprepared.’

Apple won’t be the Apple we knew without its subtle yet straightforward marketing strategies.

It aimed to perfect the aspect where it’s competitors lack power. The Apple Homepod aspires to free the speaker from audio mediocrity.

During the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple boasted on Homepod’s dynamic features.

It goes with a 7-tweeter, beam-forming array. Beam-forming or also called Spatial Filtering is a technique to sensor arrays for directional signal transmission or reception.

Also, it has a 4-inch, forward-facing subwoofer that allows the Homepod to produce excellent sound quality.

With its iPhone A8 chip, the HomePod scan the room and optimize sound quality to fit the space it’s situated.

Superb sound quality is Apple’s priority. The Amazon Echo and Google Home are programmed to be smart speakers first and then speakers.

The fine line lies between the manufacturer’s primary target.

Amazon Echo: The home-buddy

For more than two years of being in the market, the Amazon Echo has garnered over 10,000 third-party skills. These skills allow you to do almost everything from ordering pizza to hailing a cab.

The Echo reshaped the smart home. Before it came, setting up a family-friendly connected home was a bugger. Users needed to use various apps to control different types of devices. Now, Echo’s assistant, Alexa, does everything for you.

“Alexa, turn my living room lights off.”
“Alexa, remind me to fetch mom at the airport by 5.”
“Alexa, play Adele.”

You just had to say the wake word ‘Alexa’ and voila! You got your answer for your needs.

Although at some point, speaking to Alexa isn’t that easy when it’s playing some music. This drawback demands you to shout or go nearer to Alexa if you need her to listen.

Apple has the HomeKit app. This feature is its ace against Alexa’s prowess. It works with Siri and your smart home. Ideally, the HomeKit will threaten Alexa’s supremacy with connected controls.

As of now, developers are yet to work with the HomeKit app. It requires them to install an MFi chip for security.

Major smart home developers like August and Ecobee are creating specific HomeKit versions of their devices. For smaller developers, this factor might be a challenging task to continue.

Once a device starts working with the use of the HomeKit app, it’ll cater extra security for homes. This factor may sound reassuring for some smart home customers.

Also, the HomeKit app offers more flexible commands than the Echo via customizable ‘scenes.’

The ‘scenes’ lets you say ‘good night’ to Apple’s digital assistant Siri. Then, the HomeKit app will turn your lights off, set the temperature you like for bedtime, and lock your doors.

Apple might beat the Echo in the smart speaker market, but users are yet to discover how far it can go.

Google Home: Your entertainment buddy

Google’s rebuttal to the brewing battle of smart speakers isn’t your average assistant.

The Google Home has Google Assistant. It has its version of the ‘scene’ functionality. It’s called Shortcuts.

Compared to Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Home can respond to more complex commands. It’s vast array of information challenges Alexa.

Just like Apple and the HomePod, the Google Home didn’t seem to threaten the Amazon Echo in the smart speaker competition. Google focused on being your best-friend in the entertainment hub.

If your TV has built-in Chromecast or a plugged-in Chromecast streamer, Google lets you can control your TV with the Home. Now you can stream Netflix and Youtube with just the command of your voice.

Also, one of Google Home’s amazing features is its ability to recognize different voices. With this feature, the Home can respond with personalized answers. If you ask about your schedule tomorrow, it won’t give you your mom’s salon schedule.

As of now, this feature can’t compete to Apple’s target of reinforcing home security. Its voice-recognition ability isn’t made to verify purchases or to unlock the door. But who knows when Google would level up and
level to user’s expectations.

Ideally, your choice of the smart speaker depends on your standards of a ‘smart assistant’ and a speaker. Check out the detailed comparison of Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Homepod. Happy shopping!

Amazon Echo Dot vs. Google Home Mini

The war between home speakers is at hand. Google just released their home speakers. Introducing, the Google Home Mini, a fair competition with Amazon’s Echo Dot. What’s with these two home speakers? Let’s make a comparison of two of the best home speakers on the market today. For us to judge the right way, we’ll look into these categories to be able to understand which is the better home speaker.

  • Main Features
  • Other Cool Features
  • Price

Amazon Echo Dot


1. Main Features

Amazon’s Echo Dot is as small as a hockey puck. You can stream with all major streaming sites like YouTube and Spotify Premium.

The Amazon Echo Dot isn’t only a Bluetooth speaker. It also contains a 3.5 mm audio output jack that enables users to connect to any speaker. Then, the Echo Dot converts the paired speaker into an Alexa-enabled device. Much more like a casting device but more intelligent. The Echo Dot has long range, far-field voice capability. It means that if you’re in the kitchen, the Echo Dot can hear as long as you’re in the line-of-sight, or if you speak a bit louder. A drawback for this speaker is that its audio quality is quite muffled.

The Echo Dot, like its big brother, is also a hands-free activated device. No need to go and turn the device on because it has a wake word like “Alexa,” “Echo” or “Amazon.” This feature gives you an Tony Stark feeling there.

2. Other Cool Features

Well, aside from having a cool assistant like Alexa, you can also order your favorite pizza through Alexa. Wait there’s more! You can monitor your health through Fitbit, and grab an Uber car.

3. Price.

You can grab your own Amazon Echo Dot for only $50.

Google Home Mini

Image of Google Home Mini

 

1. Main Features

Like the Echo Dot, the Home Mini is as small as a hockey puck and has a unique fabric-covered aesthetic. This smart speaker has touch controls on the top panel for volume, and a switch that mutes the microphone. The Home Mini, is a device supported with Bluetooth. You can connect any gadgets and control the speaker with your voice.

2. Other Cool features

You can connect other Google gadgets with the Home Mini. Play music directly from Google Play or stream with Spotify Premium and other streaming networks. Since the Home Mini is a product of Google, its very own Google Assistant can navigate your way through the device. Expect intelligent answers and maybe cheesy jokes in the end.

3. Price

You can have the Google Home Mini for only $50.

The verdict on who’s the best?

Both the Home Mini and the Echo Dot are good when it comes to its prices. However, judging on the categories stated, the Google Home Mini has an advantage over the Echo Dot. Not only that the Home Mini is practical, portable and intelligent, the smart speaker actually helps you in tons of ways since it’s tied to Google’s database. The Home Mini provides flexibility which what we all need.

Think we made the right verdict? Let us know what you think.

Thiel Audio to Open Nashville Retail Store and will Customize Wireless Speakers

Nashville, TN – Thiel Audio opens their first retail store at The Pinnacle at Symphony Place. Their retail showroom displays custom-designed AURORA wireless speakers along with their sample components. From earthy to contemporary, the Aurora Home and the Aurora LifeStream Tour’s interchangeable faceplate designs can accommodate various home decor styles. These customized faceplate designs are open for pre-order this month of October.

In addition to the available trim kits, customers can download 3D files from Thiel Audio’s website. Users can create a personalized 3D design for their AURORA wireless speaker.

Thiel Audio’s first wireless speakers, the AURORA Home and the battery-powered AURORA LifeStream Tour, benefit from Thiel Audio’s high-performance wireless audio streaming.

With the company’s 40-year heritage of outstanding sound and design, users are assured of a remarkable music experience.

These wireless speakers also have incredible wireless connectivity features. Users can connect seamlessly from their devices to up to 16 speakers simultaneously through DTS Play-Fi®, Apple Airplay®, and Bluetooth technologies. Soon, these high-performing wireless speakers will have an Alexa® compatibility upgrade upon the release of the DTS Play-Fi® software update.

Thiel Audio’s 3,000-square-foot studio space isn’t only a showroom for their incredible wireless speakers and accessories. The retail store includes a Thiel Audio demo room, entertainment area, meeting space, and performance stage. With the store location’s proximity to other musical venues, the company hopes to fascinate passers-by to witness their speaker’s notable audio performance.

“I think really it’s an experience space,” Thiel Audio’s CEO Grant Halloran said. “I think what makes our space unique is the fact that we built in a performance stage.”

Music enthusiasts can now directly purchase these high-performing wireless speakers at 150 Third Avenue South of the Pinnacle at Symphony, Nashville. Thiel Audio’s AURORA Home is priced at 899, while the battery-powered AURORA LifeStream Tour costs $599.

Everyone can now witness exceptional sound quality of Thiel Audio speakers. And if you’re lucky, hear them along with your favorite musical performers. The retail store opens Tuesdays till Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm. But, Thiel Audio’s retail store continues to operate for events happening at night.

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home

The Amazon Echo has been the queen of Smart Assistants since November 2014. But its fame has been challenged two years after by the Google Home.

The two smart speakers have been the finest of their kinds, but if you’re new to the virtual world of Artificial Intelligence (AI),

it pays to know their respective strengths and weaknesses before acquiring one.

For you to arrive at a fair judgment, let’s examine the Amazon Echo and the Google Home under four criteria.

1. Design: Amazon Echo vs. Google Home

Google Home

At first sight, Google Home’s look might ring a bell. It might display a familiarity you can’t quite muster. Well, many publications say that it resembles an air freshener. We couldn’t agree more, but we all know Google Home is more than that.

While its aesthetics’ comparison might get you chuckling, it’s a notable advantage how the Google Home can seamlessly blend into your home’s environment. After all, Smart Assistants are meant to be kept at home.

Talk about minimalist design and the Google Home scores high.

The upper body of a Google Home unit is White. Its lower half leaves the users the option to change its color from various choices that Google provides. The smart speakers come with a Gray fabric, but you can also choose between Violet, Mango, Marine Fabric bases. Other designs are offered, such as Snow, Carbon, Copper Metal bases to help your Home fit into any room more naturally. The fabric options will cost you about $20, while the metal options are at around $40.

The Google Home has only one physical button. It functions as Deafen/Mute button when you don’t want it to listen to you or to stop it from making a sound. Also, the touch activated top of the unit can also control volume adjustment, halting of timers and alarms.

Since the Home is voice activated, its all other features can be curbed by the user’s voice alone.

When you give your commands to the Google Home, Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow lights flash up and spin.

Also, its cable hides neatly under the base, and it’s long enough to allow you to position your Google Home in your desired location without producing too much clutter.

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo stands taller at 9.3 inches and is cylindrical. It has speakers all around it and comes with Black or White variety. Most people opt for the Black model since it looks more discrete than the White speaker. But the White speaker also has its ace as it blends in nicely with some modern-day households.

While the Echo has its distinctive look among other appliances or particular furniture, its simplicity lets it disguise as any other home decoration. It makes it an excellent option for a countertop or shelving unit.

Like the Google Home, the Amazon Echo also uses only minimal physical dials. The Circular Dial at the topmost part of the Amazon Echo is for adjusting the volume manually. It also has a Deafen/Mute Button if you don’t want it to talk or listen to you.

If the voice assistant has trouble hearing you, you can press the button on top of the unit. It activates Alexa if you don’t want to use the ‘Alexa’ keyword.

In general, both Google Home and Amazon Echo has sleek and minimalist designs. Beauty is always subjective, so the verdict is yours for this criterion.

2. Amazon Echo vs Google Home as Personal Assistants

Voice assistants are developed for a universal purpose. It’s to make life easier for its users. With this, it’s important to note how good they are in doing their essence. It’s important to measure how ‘smart’ they are.

If you acquired your unit for practical reasons, both Google Home and Amazon Echo have the same features. Both of them can tell you the nearest shoe store for your upcoming party. But in this particular leg, the Google Home has its advantage of hooking into its Maps services. In other words, it can give you an estimated time by car. The Echo, on the other hand, can only tell you the distance of that shoe store.

Also, no worries about regular weather updates. Both Home and Echo speakers can give you detailed weather reports. If you’re a sports junkie, you can also ask both of them for updates about this topic. Expect that they’ll have a difference on the deliverance of their respective answers.

The Home owes its smart ability to its treasure trove of information. Compared to the Echo speaker, the Home speaker can understand context.

The Home and the Echo with Smart Home Appliances

It’s undeniable that having a personal assistant at home means you can control smart home appliances like lights. Both the Home and the Echo wireless speakers can be hooked with a variety of Smart lights like Phillips Hue and LIFX. All these can be controlled with your voice. If you say “Let there be light!” Voila! Your lights are on.

Both the Home and Echo work pretty well with lights.

Their primary difference is that the Google Home has a “Home Control” section built right into the Google Home app. The Echo needs you to install the specialized skill in the Alexa App.

The Home and the Echo app links

The Google Home takes advantage of various Google services such as Calendar. It allows you to set up events under your Google account. You can mark a time and place on your schedule. With the Amazon Echo, it can connect to services like Microsoft Outlook.

When it comes to some of the simpler tasks though, Google can still fail. The Home can’t create to-do lists and add reminders.

Good news for chef-wannabes! Both options can teach you thousands of recipes. Notably, Google’s Home speaker is almost made for this service. It can guide you to cooking at an utmost comfortable pace. If you miss a step, you can ask “what was that last step?” and the Home will lead the way. To top it off, the Home can let you browse up to 5 million recipes on your phone. On the other hand, the Echo needs to connect with AllRecipes before you can showcase your culinary expertise. The difference is pretty noticeable.

Another interesting feature added to the Google Home is its ability to recognize multiple users. You can also train your Home to identify up to 5 voices. This feature is pretty impressive since the Home can personalize answers depending on whose voice is asking.

Both the Home and the Echo can make orders to places like Dominos.

Google just recently added end-to-end payments in its features. Once you’ve set this feature in your Google Home app, you’re ready to go. You can now order from various locations at the tip of your fingers.

On the other hand, Amazon needs you to enable skills for each area that you wish to order from with your voice. This setup isn’t that much of an issue if you order in the same location again and again.

If you’re an avid Amazon shopper and value the ability to make orders with your voice, the Echo is the one for you. Also, Amazon puts on various promotions that give you discounts for ordering with your voice. Sounds like news for avid online shoppers, right?

If you’re going to get a personal assistant, you would want it to be as responsive as possible. So, we did a quick test to see which unit was faster to respond to voice commands.

Out of 15 trials, the Google Home won 10 times. 1.56 seconds is the average response time for the Google Home. With the Echo, it responded in 1.66 seconds. This factor might not affect the users too much, but it pays to know which unit can do it faster for you. After all, who wants their pizza delivered seconds late?

3. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home for Music and Entertainment

Both Google Home and Amazon Echo has the power to stream major audio offerings like Pandora and Spotify from your connected account. But in this leg, Echo seems to ace the game.

The Home is limited to Pandora, Spotify, Youtube Music, and Google Play while the Echo is more than this. It can have iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Audible, and Amazon Music unlimited.

The Google Home speaker benefits from its cast feature by streaming various apps like Pocket Casts and all Chrome tabs. On the other hand, the Echo benefits from Amazon.

Familiarity to a particular virtual ecosystem can be a dealbreaker when it comes to choosing the best personal assistant for you.

The Home and the Echo as Speakers

Both Home and Echo speakers can get quite loud. Technically, the Amazon Echo gets 4.5db louder. It makes use of the multi-directional speaker.

The Google Home utilizes passive radiators on the side and one driver on the front. Objectively, the Home has better bass response compared to the Echo.

One common problem that both speakers have is their inability to hear keywords when playing music or other audio. During tests, the Home listened a bit better than the Echo.

Home and Echo with TV

Via Chromecast, the Google Home can control the video on your television with the usage of your voice.

The Chromecast can make use both Netflix and Youtube with Hulu, HBO Now, and many more for the upcoming season.

On the other hand, Amazon’s Fire TV doesn’t have this integration. This feature means that you can’t Echo can’t let you jump quickly to your favorite show.

In the realm of the virtual world, which AI reigns supreme?

Both smart speakers have a high set of advantages and disadvantages. Although the Amazon Echo remains to be the bearer of the widest level of device support for smart home setups, the Google Home continues to battle its way to being better in any other way.

Powered with free hands-free calling, the Chromecast support and more, Google can’t be a bad choice if you’re accustomed to the Google ecosystem.

If you want to get both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home cheap, you can always opt for the Echo Dot. The Dot gives you all the same benefits of the larger model. Although there may be a slight difference in the audio quality, the Echo Dot is a good alternative.

For better audio experience, you can link the Echo Dot to a Bluetooth speaker to get a better audio experience. In the high-tech world of AI, there is always a way through everything.

Bose to Launch New Neckband Wireless Speaker

Carrying a stereo on your shoulders may sound ‘old school.’ But Bose has come up with a revolutionary wearable technology that offers an incredibly convenient audio experience – hands-free and ears-free!

The new SoundWear Companion wireless speaker is Bose’s latest audio development which is perfectly designed for everyone’s enjoyment. This wireless speaker is a great music buddy that offers the best of both worlds – connection and convenience. Music junkies don’t need to keep their ears occupied with a pair of headphones, and completely muffle themselves away from their surroundings.

The innovative neckband design rests comfortably around the neck giving comfort and better audio experience for everyone.

Every part of the SoundWear Companion wireless speaker is carefully engineered for better sound transmission. The flexible, weather-resistant wireless speaker is made with the finest and lightweight materials, like a bend-and-stay steel wire enclosed in medical-grade silicone that has enough low-spring torsion to stay securely around your neck. It’s so comfortable to wear. You might forget you’re wearing it the entire day.

The SoundWear Companion wireless speaker doesn’t compromise its sound quality with its fashionable design. With Bose’s incredible waveguide technology, this wireless speaker produces full and clear sounds to your ears yet minimizes the sound for others.

This wireless speaker is music experience at its best. The SoundWear Companion speaker’s wireless connectivity is capable of having a relatively stable operating range of up to 30 feet (9 meters) without obstruction. It also can maintain a relatively secure connection to two devices simultaneously.

The SoundWear Companion speaker has a built-in microphone for taking calls when connected to a smartphone that supports the Bluetooth® HFP profile. In addition to regular calls, the speaker seamlessly works with many Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications, such as Skype or FaceTime.

Immerse yourself in an all-day music engagement with the wireless speaker’s 12-hour battery life. Walk around and do your tasks with ease while listening to your favorite tunes. Virtual assistant Siri can assist you through your preferred audio settings without the need of adjusting the sound manually. Voice prompts give cues on Bluetooth pairing with other devices while haptic alerts (vibration notifications) indicate incoming calls.

The SoundWear Companion wireless speaker is the latest audio development from Bose which is selling at a reasonable price of $299.95 (MSRP). This wireless speaker includes a black cover with other trendy colors available, such as gray, blue and purple.

Amazon Alexa Voice Activated Wireless Speaker Review

Table of Contents:

Are you looking for a wireless speaker that’ll give you good sound quality and incredible features? You should consider trying out Amazon’s Alexa Echo Wireless Speaker!

What is Amazon’s Alexa?

The name ‘Alexa’ was coined from the ancient library of Alexandria in Egypt.

It’s Amazon’s voice-activated assistant that allows you to speak your commands and see them fulfilled in an instant.

Alexa can translate your voice commands so she can play music, turn the lights on, order items on Amazon, and order food in fancy restaurants.

Thanks to Echo’s incredible speakers, Alexa can respond to voice requests from any place inside its hearing distance. You don’t even have to worry because there are no activation buttons to press. It’s very convenient and excellent for you if you’re into smart home devices.

Just say the trigger words like ‘Alexa,’ ‘Echo,’ ‘Amazon,’ or ‘Computer.’ Then voice out your commands to the speaker. It’ll immediately respond to your request as long as everything is set, and you’re using the correct commands.

How Alexa Works

If you deliver a command, you don’t have to say it twice because part of Alexa’s fantastic feature is its seven very sensitive microphones built into the Echo speaker. Alexa is always listening and gives response quickly.

The default word is ‘Alexa, ’ but it can still be changed to ‘Echo,’ ‘Amazon,’ or ‘Computer.’ Your command should always start with these words followed by your request. The speaker may not respond to your requests if the magic words aren’t said first.

If you wish to know the weather for the day, Alexa will automatically answer with the latest weather update of your location. Voice out your favorite music and Alexa will search the Amazon Music Catalog for the music that you requested. But, only those that have an account in Amazon Prime can access to Prime Music. You can also make a ‘to-do list’ using Amazon’s Alexa. This speaker is a convenience for smart-home users out there.

You can only voice out your commands one at a time. Saying “Alexa, turn the lights off and play Perfect by One Direction,” will just confuse the voice assistant and may not carry out the command.

There are also some concerns about the speaker that may need improvements. Alexa may have problems executing your commands because of background noise and overly loud music. The noise cancellation technology may also need an improvement.

Microsoft too Late to be a Player in the Wireless Smart Speaker Industry

With smart speakers from Apple, Google and Amazon popping from time to time, one household name seems to be tailing in the last place, Microsoft.

Smart speakers made its way on the market way back in 2014 when Amazon first released the Echo. Then several companies have tried to come up with their very own smart speakers. Google came up with the Google Home, and Apple recently announced its HomePod’s release in December. Samsung has also announced a new smart speaker named Bixby.

What makes smart speakers smarter than the regular wireless speakers? It’s powered by a virtual assistant that smartly takes your voice commands. They usually have the capability to play your desired music, tell you about the weather or even read the news.

Is it too late for Microsoft? Maybe not. Microsoft may have been behind in smart speakers, but they’re coming out with a new and first speaker with their voice assistant Cortana. Cortana has existed in PC’s with a Windows operating system, but that’s a different story. Microsoft has been trailing in the last place when it comes to smartphones too. They’ll just have to cross their fingers on their new smart speaker.

Microsoft has paired up with Harman Kardon to create a wireless smart speaker with Cortana as the virtual assistant. With all the rumors coming up, this speaker is officially on and named as Invoke. Known for manufacturing audio devices, Harman Kardon delivers excellent audio performance.

The Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker with Cortana will have a seven-microphone listening array. This speaker also includes three woofers and three tweeters. It may necessarily mean a better audio performance, but the audio range will be better than Amazon’s Echo. The design helps produce a 360-degree audio and deliver sound from every part of the speaker.

The greatest edge of the Invoke, compared to other smart speakers, is that it allows voice calling. The manufacturers of Invoke partnered with Skype so it can support Skype calls. It has a matte metallic and cylinder shape with a glowing blue light at the top.

The Invoke speaker will be released in the US by fall of 2017. They haven’t announced the possible price of the speaker until the release date is near. But some speculations said that it might be under $200 price range. Microsoft may have been in the last place, but it’s definite that their Invoke speaker is one smart speaker to look out for.

3 Stocks to Watch in the Smart Speaker Industry

Smart speakers are a growing popularity. With their simple designs but remarkable features, investors have drawn their attention to the smart speaker industry.

But which smart speaker plays well on the market? There are 3 stocks to watch in the smart speaker industry. Let’s see how these stocks play with their smart speaker products in the market.

Investors that have the interest to capitalize on the smart speaker industry should keep an eye to the three of the biggest companies in technology: Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

1. Amazon Echo

Can this speaker echo in the market?

Product Name: Amazon Echo
Cost: $$$
Ratings: 8.8
Brand: Amazon.com, Inc.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has introduced the Amazon Echo, the world’s first smart speaker introduced in the market. Even though it was released last 2014, the Amazon Echo competes among the other recent smart speakers with its amazing features and skills to perform.

The Amazon Echo is a cylindrical speaker which can connect to your Wi-Fi. Alexa, Amazon’s smart AI voice assistant, gets activated once the device is plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. All you have to say is “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer, ” and you can automatically get through its settings as it knows a vast number of commands. Alexa continues to learn more of it to get a full interaction with its user.

Background noise and ambient music isn’t a problem with the Amazon Echo. It has a beam-forming seven microphone array with noise-cancelling technology. This feature can effortlessly pick your voice up and execute your desired commands seamlessly. The speaker also has a 360-degree omnidirectional audio output. It allows the speaker to produce a decently loud sound. The overall decent sound quality may not satisfy an audiophile’s standard, but it’s a speaker that everybody can enjoy.

Standing alone in the competition in the past years, the Amazon Echo immediately became the predominating smart speaker in the market. Moreover, it still stands out among other smart speakers when it comes to accuracy in recognizing voice commands. But Amazon is still working hard improve its functionality. The company has sold about 10.7 million devices to its customers since its 2014 release. But can it still stand out and compete with the emerging availability of other smart speakers? It’s something every music lover can find out.

2. Google Home

“Hey Google”

Product Name: Google Home
Cost: $$$
Ratings: 8.3
Brand: Google

That’s all you need to say, and Google Assistant activates when connected to your Wi-Fi. This simply beautiful smart speaker blends well with your home. Once activated, you can get full control of its audio and media settings. A fantastic feature of the Google Home is its ability to synchronize with several Google accounts to get a more personalized management of the speaker in your household.

Enjoy decent audio quality with the Home. The speaker produces decent lows and mids but can become muddy at a higher volume. But don’t fret! Get the audio quality of your preference as this speaker is capable of connecting via Bluetooth, Chromecast or an aux cable.

The Google Home still needs improvement with its functionality. But the company has promised new features which will make the Google Home more useful for the household. Nevertheless, it’s capability to sync with multiple Google accounts, and connecting options already prove to be one of the most useful smart home speakers. Moreover, it’s catching up with the Amazon Echo as it has grabbed about 24% of the smart speaker market this year.

3. Apple HomePod

Product Name: Apple HomePod
Cost: $$$
Ratings: 8.5
Brand: Apple

The Apple HomePod is still awaiting its release on the end month of the year. But Apple fanatics and audiophiles have already set their odds on this smart speaker.

The Apple HomePod has an impressive array of audio technology for an optimal music listening. Apple puts its audio quality first which makes their smart speaker preferable by most users. This speaker has six beam-forming tweeters which are complemented with six built-in microphones to detect its location in a room. The audio automatically adjusts to give a balanced, stereo sound quality. It means that this small speaker’s sound will smartly fill every corner of your room.

Apple’s signature voice assistant, Siri, automatically activates when connected to your Wi-Fi. Simply say “Hey Siri,” and you can get a full control with its media and audio settings. Play music, read the news and set reminders like a boss with the Apple HomePod.

Apple is always concerned with protection and privacy. This upcoming speaker will guarantee its users a system that’s more secure and private than any other smart speaker. It’ll only connect to the HomeKit app from Apple and allows you to have an anonymous ID and encryption for your privacy. The exclusive usage of the HomeKit app may offer a better data protection especially that it’s going to be used in your home.

According to eMarketer, over 70% of the smart speaker sector is controlled by Amazon. But Google is catching up with the competition. Since the Google Home’s release last November 2016, it has already reached about 24% of the market. This percentage puts Google Home on second place in the smart speaker industry.

The emerging and phenomenal rise of the smart home speaker sales is expected to increase dramatically by the end of the year. It’s achieving 36 million clients who purchased smart speakers in the U.S. alone. There’s also an expansion of 129% year over year on its sales.

Global Market Insights also foresees that by 2024, the increase in the smart speaker market will hit $13 billion with sales of over 100 million units.

Samsung to Launch Smart Speaker with ‘Bixby’ in 2018 to Compete

What’s to be expected at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2018?

Guess it’s worth a wait for Samsung to launch smart speaker with ‘Bixby’ in 2018 to compete with other AI speakers. Samsung’s ‘Bixby’ powered smart speaker will be revealed at the CES 2018.

The smart speaker is described to be coming in both “Wireless 360-Degree Audio” style and “All-in-One Soundbar” style for the television.

There’ll be an improvement for this competitive speaker with the multi-room capability of the Wireless 360-Degree Audio. Moreover, the incredible, low-pitched sound quality of the All-in-One Soundbar gives the company confidence to offer a powerful surround sound and a super easy to use smart speaker.

The wireless speaker powered by Bixby will put its user to a different level of Internet of Things (IoT) experience. They wanted to improve their customer’s satisfaction and enhance their product’s usability by using a highly intelligible voice-assistant. The speaker device will upgrade and learn by itself new things rather than just perform tasks with voice commands. Currently, Bixby is continuously learning different circumstances based on its interaction with its users. It’ll also provide an outstanding voice recognition feature. Bixby will give an individual account to each family member as it’s capable of recognizing different voices.

Samsung Electronics has introduced Bixby to two of their known products which are the Family Hub Refrigerator and the Galaxy S8. But they’re carefully working to set up a very interactive society with their future products. They plan to incorporate the utilization of AI speakers not only to any electronic device but also extend its usage to automobiles, as well as medical and financial systems. Bixby is as of now associated with Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass. They’re an identity management service which uses biometric authentication. With Bixby and added features, the users will be able to safely and conveniently operate their cars, use banking services, or make medical appointments.

Imagine a whole new society where the physical and virtual worlds merge and interact with each other. The future is here, and Samsung won’t be behind with technology.

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