Smart displays came into their own in 201827th December 2018
When Amazon first debuted the Echo Show last year, plenty of people, us included, mocked its unusual design. More than that, we wondered if adding a display to a smart speaker makes sense, or if it was just another one of Amazon’s gimmicks. It turns out, however, that being able to see the result of your queries is actually quite helpful; it’s easier to glance at your entire shopping list than it is to have Alexa read it line by line. Amazon later followed up with the Echo Spot bedside clock, which offers the same features in a smaller design.
But even though the Show and the Spot came out in 2017, it was in 2018 that smart displays came into their own. Despite Amazon being early to the game, it was Google that kicked off this phenomenon in earnest. In January of this year, Google announced that it was partnering with third-party manufacturers like Lenovo, JBL and LG to roll out a slew of what it called “Google Smart Displays.” By doing so, it gave a name to what would turn out to be a whole new kind of hardware category. It would also serve to intensify the Amazon and Google rivalry even further.
Now, smart displays came in not just one or two different designs, but five. What might otherwise have been a quirky novelty had quickly blossomed into a ubiquitous new product category. By doing so, it not only differentiated its Smart Display platform from phones and tablets, it also took the opportunity to beat Amazon at its own game. While the Echo Show and Spot demonstrated the value of smart displays, the screen was still somewhat secondary to Alexa.
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