Tencent Technology News, according to foreign media reports, smart speaker devices now become major blue-chip competition in the new technology giant. Some analysts said that in order to compete for market share, Amazon and Google smart speakers introduced a very large discount during the holiday season, so that each sold a loss of several dollars.
Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, as Amazon and the smallest version of Google Smart Speaker, dropped from $ 50 to a low of $ 29 during the U.S. holiday season. In the smart speaker market, Amazon, Google has taken a completely different strategy with Apple, which is preparing to launch its HomePod smart speakers.
Launched in 2017, HomePod sells for as much as $ 349 but was not listed on time last year. Apple said the device will be available in early 2018 shelves.
Analysts said Apple hopes HomePod itself can make a profit, and promote $ 9.99 a month of Apple Music subscription service. Siri, Apple's smart voice assistant, is likely to focus on recommending new songs for users.
In the meantime, Amazon and Google are even more eager to get their customers to use their virtual assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant, and then monetize through voice assistants selling goods and getting shopping habits data.
Although the Home Mini and Echo Dot are not as tonal as the HomePod, once users have competing devices, their demand for better-performing, more expensive speakers may decline. Not to mention Amazon and Google Mid-end smart speakers in the holiday season has been as low as 79 US dollars.
"This pricing strategy is good for consumers, but bad news for Apple," said Paul Erickson, senior analyst at market research firm IHS Markit.
However, some consumers may also think that the $ 30 smart speakers are cheap, and it would not be a pity to throw away these cheap devices after the listing of Apple HomePod.
Amazon declined to comment on the Echo device, but revealed that it sold millions of Echo Dot during the holiday season, making it the best seller on the Amazon Web site.
Google did not disclose Home Mini sales figures, but a spokesman said the company is very pleased with the holiday season's performance. Google will offer Home Mini to users who buy Pixel 2 smartphones for $ 29 on Target and Best Buy.
In the rapidly growing smart speaker market, Amazon is a well-deserved leader, with Google followed. However, sales of these devices have not yet reached the level that can affect the financial performance of both companies.
According to ABI Research, a market research firm, parts costs for Echo Dot are about $ 31 and parts for Google Home Mini are $ 26. These figures do not include the cost of delivery, which means that the discount version is likely to sell at a loss.
"Apple had a little bit of trouble," said IDC senior analyst Adam Wright. He estimates that excluding sales during the Christmas season in the United States, the worldwide installed volume of smart speakers was about 35 million units a few weeks ago. "We have witnessed the explosive growth in the market in the past six months," he said.