Amazon certainly had a great holiday season thanks to the incredible performance of their Amazon Echo AI. The best selling product for Amazon was the Amazon Echo Dot, with the Fire TV Stick and tablet, along with the Amazon Echo itself, coming just behind. The AI battle is only going to get bigger as the technology becomes more refined and useful.
So, why is Amazon the king of AI? One reason is compatibility. Several partnerships have been announced with Amazon including partnerships with Ford, LG, and GE to introduce Alexa to their products. The Amazon AI also comes with built-in commands; this will no doubt make it appealing to Apple users who are tired with the nonsensical answers of Siri.
Echo is a part of the e-tail ecosystem of Amazon. That is to say that the more orders you make the more data Echo gains and the better recommendations it can make. Integrating Echo perfectly with the inventory of Amazon is an integral part of its appeal. The continued branching out of Amazon is going to be powered by these digital devices.
It’s expected that Amazon will subsidise Echo by including content such as movies and music with the device. These things are not part of their core business model so they have no problems including them. In the end Amazon is seeking to facilitate interactions or, in other words, potential sales. There’s even the chance that Amazon could try dipping their toes in the phone market again after the spectacular failure of the Fire Phone. A new smartphone is a great place to put AI after all.
It should come as no surprise that there’s a lot of fierce competition on the market. Google entered the fray with their Home speaker back in October, which is the next step in Google Assistant. Amazon is, unsurprisingly, not making Home directly available through their website. There are also reports that Apple are working on their own version of Echo, and, of course, Windows has Cortana; which was deeply integrated in the Windows 10 package. There are even reports that Lenovo will soon be entering the AI battle. It’s expected google will get their footing through their search capabilities while Microsoft will aim Cortana squarely at businesses; a market it has dominated for years with Microsoft Office.
Apple may not be one of the first companies to join the fight but they have been known to take an existing product and improve on it. If they could differentiate AI like they differentiated touchscreens they could carve a niche of their own in the market.
The tech industry is powered by innovation and evolution. Technology companies can either invent or die, only to be surpassed at warp speed by something built in a garage.