With the announcement of Apple’s very own Siri-driven voice-activated standalone speaker called the HomePod, we may finally be officially entering the battle of the AI-powered smart speakers. Amazon’s Echo devices and the Google Home have initially entered the fray, with other smaller players like LG, Harmon Kardon, and Mattel also trying to make their mark. It looks like other OEMs, including Microsoft and Samsung are also planing to get into this new trend in the gadgets sector.

Currently, it’s Amazon Echo that’s on top, particularly in markets like the US where home speakers are actually becoming commonplace. It is expected that by the end of the year, they will have 70.6% of the voice-enabled speakers in the US, according to eMarketer. The rest of the pie will have to be shared by the aforementioned smaller players. 35.6 million Americans are expected to use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month this year, so the market is really ripe for massive growth.

Microsoft is set to release their own device called Invoke and it will be powered by their own AI platform Cortana. It’s been said that the speaker will prioritize sound quality and it is set to be released in the third quarter of the year. Samsung is also supposedly working on their own device and has in fact applied for a patent for a new standalone audio device, of course powered by Bixby.

Other companies rumored to be entering this market are Softbank who is teaming up with robotics start-up Plan Cube, internet service company Naver who is working with LINE, and even Kakao. Let’s see how all this plays out and if there will continue to be a huge market demand for smart speakers.

VIA: Korea Herald