Alexa v. Google Assistant makes consumers the big winners

Google and Amazon's voice assistants appear to be very much in the ascendancy, with dozens of third-party device manufacturers piling onto their platforms.

The ball-shaped device is about the size of a softball and created to sit on your bedside table or even in the kitchen or elsewhere. The design of the Spot is one of the best we've seen from Amazon, though. This holiday season, Amazon and Google in particular enthusiastically pushed their smart speakers - for Amazon, its Echo line, and for Google, its Home products - as it becomes clear that voice-based digital assistants are the next big frontier.

Plus, with the multi-room music feature, you can play your favourite tracks throughout your home, with synchronised music across all of your Echo devices.

Against the Echo Show, Lenovo's Smart Display is the clear victor in terms of its HD display.

HiMirror has joined hands with Alexa to offer an interactive smart mirror that advises you on skincare, uses a camera to analyse your skin and complexion and then informs you about concern areas such as wrinkles and red spots.

However, if you're interested in a more media-centric device with a larger screen and better speakers, while also making good use of the video-calling functionality, you may be better off spending a bit more on the Echo Show. These new skills bring the total number of skills available for Indian customers to more than 12,000", Amazon said adding that the new skills published span 20 categories, "including global favorites like music and audio, interactive games and education, to trending categories like health, business and finance, and news and lifestyle. Unlike the Echo Dot which is only really passable for things like chatting, the Echo Spot had a nice sound to it. Overall in the US, Amazon customers spend approximately $1,000 annually, Prime customers spend around $1,300 but the average annual spend for Amazon Echo owners is a massive $1,700.

The size makes it easier to place than the Show, although admittedly this means that any video shown on its screen naturally wants to be round. The screen will also show you visual information on search results you conduct via voice commands, this is particularly handy if you're searching for a product, as you can actually see an item and then buy it if you like the look of it.

Thanks to the included camera on the front of the Spot, you'll also be able to make video calls to other Spots or Shows, use it as an intercom to talk to other Echo devices in the home, or place calls to other Alexa app or Echo users. That isn't going away.

You can set your alarms to wake you up to a particular artist or genre, or on a particular radio station. It is essentially a smaller Echo Show that is created to sit beside your bed.

"Anywhere you could put a dot [Amazon Echo Dot]". Sure, for many things you'll still need a hub.

In the United Kingdom the Amazon Echo Spot is up for pre-order now.

Apple's speaker will have a higher price tag than the Amazon Echo range, which begins at $49 (£49) for the Echo Dot.

First published on 28 September 2017.

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