Survey finds no-one owns a Cortana speaker

The Harman  Kardon Invoke is the singular of a rare species – that of the Cortana-powered smart speaker.

It appears it is also rare in other ways, as a survey by Kantar found no-one owned one.

The survey of 1,097 Americans fielded via Lightspeed’s millennial panel, VICE Voices, showed that the Amazon’s smart-speaker devices – which includes the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus and Echo Spot – commands 66% of the overall market. Google’s home products come in second with a 30% share of the overall market.

The Invoke was released in October last year at the rather high price point of $230, but has a 50% price cut in February 2018 to only $108. This clearly did not shift enough units to hit even 1% market share on Kantar’s survey.

The good news for Microsoft is that “only” 34% of Americans own smart speakers, meaning another 66% can still be converted, but I suspect when those people do jump aboard it will be largely Google and Amazon who will benefit.

Kantar’s survey found smart speaker owners loved their devices, with nearly 50% using them multiple times per day, and 26% using them at least once per day, leaving only a small proportion which lets them gather dust.

Usage is however still rather basic, with the main usage around playing music, setting timers, checking weather and looking up information.

“Voice search queries are 30 times more likely to be action-oriented than typed queries, meaning businesses have an ideal opening to recommend their services to the search user,” Gaelle Bertrand, Head of Brand Insight and Social Media Intelligence at Kantar Media,

Once users do try out advances features such as buying items from via their smart speaker their relationship with their smart speaker tends to deepen even further.

Microsoft is still working on bringing Cortana to more devices, including recently announcing a smart thermostat with the digital assistant built in. The company is however now so far behind in the race it the initiative appears rather futile at present unless Microsoft changes the game dramatically.

One way this could be done would be a cheap $30 far-field microphone accessory and software which would allow users to use old laptops as Echo Show-style devices. Microsoft’s initiative for PC-based Cortana appears to have stalled however and as prices for smart speakers continue to plunge even such ideas will become increasingly less impactful.

Do our readers see any future for Cortana in smart speakers? Let us know below.

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