Amazon and Google release new products, targeting growing smart home market
Source: Elvina Yang
More than 200 million homes worldwide had at least one smart home device
installed at the end of 2018, according to a recent report by Strategic Analytics. The market research firm further predicted that there will be an additional 100 million homes turning smart in 2023, with more than 6.4 billion smart home devices in use.
Unit sales of smart home devices are going to grow at more than 20 percent every year between 2018 and 2023, Strategic Analytics expected, due to more affordable prices of smart home services and products.
Two major smart home device companies - Amazon
and Google - have both recently announced new product line-ups for the year. Their diversified new products have echoed the positive sales performance in the smart home market.
Google - Mesh router as smart home hub
Google announced the Nest Wifi Router and Wifi Point, as the replacement for Google Wifi, to compete with home router products like Amazon’s Eero, Netgear’ Orbi and Asus’ Lyra.
Nest Wifi Router is a wireless mesh network router with built-in Google Assistant. It supports 2.4 GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi channels (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Thread and Bluetooth
Low Energy to allow integration with other smart home devices. Thread
capability will be added later in 2020. Google claims, a two-pack Nest Wifi is able to cover a 3,800-square-foot house.
Wifi Point works as an extension of the Nest Wifi Router and an independent Google Assistant-powered smart speaker
. In addition, it is compatible with any other mesh Wi-Fi router which supports the 802.11 standard.
The Nest Mini, Google’s latest mini smart home speaker, features a better audio performance, ultrasound for proximity detection, a new intercom feature and a handy wall mount hole. Other features remain approximately the same from the 2017 released version, as well as its price.
Besides hardware, Google has also announced some other news to boost its smart home business.
Nest Aware, Google’s cloud subscription service for Nest devices, is moving to the Google Home app and is moving to a two-tier plan. Subscribers can receive 30 days of event-based notifications and 10 days of continuous recording covering all of the Nest devices at home for US$6 per month; and have 60 days of event-based notifications for $12 per month in the Nest Aware Plus plan. At last, the new version of Google Assistant is able to respond up to 10 times faster than before.
Amazon - Alexa everywhere
Amazon caught everyone’s eye with its Alexa-controlled microwave last year. This year is no exception. Their new smart home product line-up includes upgrades from previous devices and new eye-catching ones.
The brand-new Echo Studio, a direct competitor against Apple HomePod, focuses on audio quality featuring Dolby Atmos with an accessible price of $199. Another inexpensive product, the Echo Dot, has a new version including an LED display with a clock. The Echo Flex, a small speaker equipped with a USB port and a night light, aims to be a cheap option for people to extend Alexa capabilities to every room at home.
The regular Echo speaker comes with some new color options, and the new Echo Show 8 is a slightly updated device that comes with an 8-inch display and more powerful audio.
Amazon further announced an Alexa-integrated smart device for the kitchen - Amazon Smart Oven. The smart oven does conventional cooking and air-fried food. The reason it is smart, users can scan the packaged food items from the Alexa app, and the oven will then start cooking.
To bring Alexa everywhere, Amazon has also launched two wearables equipped with Alexa - the Echo Frames glasses with two built-in microphones but no cameras or display, and the Echo Look ring to enable Alexa on the go.
As for its smart home brand Ring, Amazon brought up a cheaper version of Stick Up Cam for $99, a Stick Up Cam Elite powered with Ethernet for a more reliable connection, and a $59.99 Indoor Cam.