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With nearly 2 billion users estimated to be using digital assistants by 2021, voice assistants are becoming increasingly important. Amazon has been dominating the world of smart speakers for a while now, but other tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and even Apple have been making moves to catch up, with Google, with the release of Google Home in November 2016 seemingly the most nimble.
While Apple and Microsoft have both announced but are yet to release their first smart speaker, Google appears already ready to release their second.
Google has a big hardware event in October where the company will unveil new Pixel 2 smartphones, along with some other devices. The company will also be introducing a new smart speaker under the Google Home line — the Google Home Mini.
Similar to the Amazon Echo Dot, Google Home Mini will be a smaller version of the company’s Home smart speaker. The smart speaker will come with Google Assistant, and it’ll probably include all the features that are available on the larger Google Home. Just like the original Home, the new Home Mini will be available in multiple different colors: Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral. The new design and colors certainly look better than the original Google Home, but they don’t have swappable bases. The new Google Home Mini will sell for $49, reports Droid Life.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is anything but a fast follower. They officially announced the Harman Kardon Invoke back in May 2017, but it won’t be available for purchase until this Fall. The arrival of Microsoft’s first Cortana-powered smart speaker is a little too late, and the US-only availability is also going to be very disappointing for some.
Notably, Microsoft announced the company is working with other firms to bring new devices powered by Cortana, but those are nowhere to be seen, and their recent deal to host Cortana on Amazon Alexa devices to many seem an early abandonment of a market they are still to enter.
With 50% of internet searches expected to be performed via voice by 2020, it remains to be seen if this will be another market Microsoft will permanently be locked out of very soon.