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Smart Voice-Assistant Space Buzzing With Amazon Alexa Update

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Voice assistants like Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report) Alexa, Microsoft’s (MSFT - Free Report) Cortana, Apple’s (AAPL - Free Report) Siri and Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google Assistant continue to gain solid traction, courtesy of rapid proliferation of smartphones and smart speakers.

While Apple and Google are the major contenders in the smartphone space, Amazon, owing to its Echo devices, is dominating the smart speaker market, trailed by Baidu (BIDU - Free Report) and Google.

The growth prospects for smart voice assistants are alluring, intensifying competition in this space. According to eMarketer projections, 111.8 million people in the United States will use a voice assistant at least on a monthly basis in 2019 compared with 102 million in 2018. This accounts for 39.4% of U.S. Internet users and 33.8% of the overall population.

Moreover, the number of U.S. voice assistant users will reach 122.7 million by 2021. This will represent 42.2% of U.S. Internet users and 36.6% of U.S. population.

Amazon Adding Capabilities to Boost Alexa’s Adoption

Amazon is keeping no stone unturned to strengthen Alexa’s capabilities. The company’s recently added features include enhanced privacy features for deleting voice recordings regularly, frustration & clarification modes, multilingual support, doorbell answering service (for Ring users), Wi-Fi management and augmented home security capabilities, among others., Inc. Revenue (TTM), Inc. Revenue (TTM), Inc. revenue-ttm |, Inc. Quote

Amazon is also bringing celebrity voices to make Alexa sound more natural. Samuel L. Jackson will be the first celebrity to lend his voice to the smart assistant. Notably, Apple’s Siri got an audio update in the latest iOS 13 to sound smoother and more natural.

Moreover, a recently added capability will enable a user to use Alexa settings at someone else’s house. Further, per Quartz, Alexa can now inform users about the condition of other smart devices.

Furthermore, Amazon announced a number of Alexa-supported Echo devices, including Echo Flex, Echo Show 8 and Echo Glow. The company also unveiled Alexa-supported smart oven that adds a convection oven, an air fryer and a food warmer to the Echo microwave, launched last year.

Voice Interoperability Initiative a Game Changer

Amazon recently announced Voice Interoperability Initiative with more than 30 companies, including tech giants like Baidu, Microsoft, salesforce, Spotify, Intel and Qualcomm. However, the program excludes Apple and Google.

The Voice Interoperability Initiative group aims at ensuring that voice-software built by different companies should be interoperable and designed to support multiple simultaneous wake words. This means a user can access Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and other voice-controlled smart assistants from a single device.

The interoperability initiative reflects Amazon’s consumer-oriented focus. The program is expected to boost Alexa’s penetration into other devices that will provide the e-commerce giant valuable information about consumer behavior and purchase trends. This will further help this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company improve its Prime-related offerings.

Google & Apple Step Up Their Game With Updates

However, it would be foolish to ignore both Google and Apple.

Google has announced a number of updates to expand Google Assistant features. The Alphabet division recently announced a Google Assistant Ambient mode, which makes it easier for users to see notifications and reminders, start a playlist and control smart home devices on the lock screen of their devices.

Alphabet Inc. Revenue (TTM)


Alphabet Inc. Revenue (TTM)

Alphabet Inc. revenue-ttm | Alphabet Inc. Quote

Reportedly, per 9TO5Google, the company is also adding a call-holding feature to Google Assistant. In the upcoming Pixel 4, Google Assistant can take over a call that has been put on hold by a user.

Reportedly, Google is also trying to speed up its next-generation Assistant, which will provide a faster response compared with the current version. Alphabet currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Meanwhile, Apple has added significant updates to Siri in its latest iOS 13 and iPadOs, including the above-mentioned audio update and Siri Shortcuts, among others. Further, the latest iOS 13 update helps Siri work better with AirPods, the HomePod, CarPlay and Safari.

Apple Inc. Revenue (TTM)


Apple Inc. Revenue (TTM)

Apple Inc. revenue-ttm | Apple Inc. Quote

Per cnet, which cited an article by The Guardian, iPhone users can now use Siri to find other Apple devices and identify songs (due to Shazam integration) on Apple Watch. Currently, Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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