Putting an end to a long wait, Alphabet (GOOGL - Analyst Report) owned Google finally launched its new personal digital assistance –– Google Home. The device was unveiled at the company’s hardware-announcing event on Oct 4.
With this announcement, Google becomes the second entrant into the personal digital assistant device space after Amazon (AMZN - Analyst Report) . Not surprisingly, Google has developed Home as a more intelligent, versatile and personalized device as it is up against Echo.
Home & Echo
Released in 2014, Amazon’s Echo is a little speaker-like home automation device that can do everything from streaming music to dimming lights or cranking up the heat on the compatible thermostat. The Echo operating system is named Alexa and the built-in voice recognition system can hear users from across the room, and is plugged in at all times.
Just like Echo, Google Home, which will debut on Nov 4, can also perform an arrayof tasks such as playing music, reading books, managing calendars, answering queries, searching places, calling over cabs, controlling smart home devices and so on. It runs on Google’s new voice assistant. Google Assistant merges with Google’s Chromecast Audio and smart home devices.
Moreover, Google Home has a few extra features that the company hopes will make it more distinguishable.
Like Echo, Google Home will not have any screen or keypad and will be based fully on voice interaction. The new device will work with other portable speakers in other rooms. A user can, for example, ask Google Assistant to play the morning playlist in all rooms. This works through the Google Cast service, which also has connections to such services as Spotify, Pandora (P - Snapshot Report) , and thousands of other applications.
The most attractive thing about Google Home is its pricing. Google has set a lower price for its device, a first step in its ambitious plan to compete against Amazon for dominance in the personal assistant market. Google Home will retail for $129 while Amazon Echo is available at $179.9.
Let’s see if the difference of $50 can help Google to gain share in the growing home automation market.
Google Home’s low price is definitely a safe play for the company as it is offering something that is both affordable and full of features. However, it is still much more than the $50 new Echo Dot, a smaller version of Echo which Amazon launched last month.
Moreover, going by its past performance, Amazon does not seem to have a problem selling its hardware even at a loss to attract users who ultimately buy products/content/services from its website. This can be seen from how the previously low-priced Kindle Fire managed to carve out a niche in the tablet market.
So, there is always a possibility that Amazon will adopt a new pricing strategy to handle threats from Google Home, if any, in the future. It could cut down on prices to take the device to more homes and therefore maintain the lead in the personal assistant market space.
Although there is a price difference of $50, both products are pretty similar. So, it will be interesting to see which way consumers lean and how sales affect both companies going forward.
Currently, Amazon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A stock worth considering in the industry is LinkedIn Corporation (LNKD - Analyst Report) .
Notably, LinkedIn gained 0.15% in its last day’s stock price. On average, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 115.2% in the trailing four quarters. Moreover, LinkedIn sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
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