Amazon’s next Echo could challenge HomePod on audio quality

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
An Amazon Echo for audiophiles? Yes please!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo is annihilating Apple’s HomePod when it comes to smart speaker sales. But Jeff Bezos’ retail giant clearly knows a great idea when it sees one.

According to a new report, Amazon is developing a new Echo device that will measure up more favorably to Apple’s audiophile HomePod.

Apple still struggling to make a sound in Europe’s smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Google and Amazon continue to lead.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There’s a new challenger to the smart speaker throne — and, no, it’s not Apple’s HomePod.

According to the latest data from IDC, in Europe Google has overtaken Amazon as the market leader in smart speakers. Google Home devices accounted for 45.1% of shipped smart speakers in the region in Q1. That beats Amazon’s 41.8%. Apple’s HomePod doesn’t even even get a mention.

Google Assistant is a better virtual pharmacist than Siri

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Would you ask Siri about your medication?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a query about your prescription drugs, you’re better off asking Google Assistant than Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. That’s the conclusion of a new piece of research, published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine.

While you’re best off asking a human doctor, of course, the research was intended to see how accurate Google, Amazon and Apple’s AI assistants are at explaining the 50 most commonly prescribed medicines.

China overtakes U.S. as world’s biggest smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Are you a smart speaker user?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

China has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s biggest smart speaker market. According to new figures from Canalys, the Chinese market grew nearly 500% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019.

Approximately 10.6 million units shipped in China over the quarter, compared to 5 million in the U.S. This means that China is now 51% of the global global smart speaker market. The U.S., on the other hand, comes in second place at just 24%.

Smart speaker market doubles in a year, but HomePod remains a bit player

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
HomePod still lags behind its Google and Amazon rivals in sales.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

As the smart speaker market continues to pick up, Apple’s HomePod still lags behind devices from Amazon and Google. Both companies benefit from being earlier movers — and from offering products at a cheaper price point.

That’s the takeaway from a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners that describes holiday trends for HomePod, Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Google Home tops Siri and HomePod in smart speaker test

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Apple may have been late to the smart speaker game but its HomePod is showing signs it could one day outperform them all.

But only if Apple gives Siri the power.

In Loup Ventures annual smart speaker comparisons, Google Assistant understood all 800 questions and answered nearly 88 percent of them correctly. In its first Loup Ventures test, the HomePod with Siri at the helm misunderstood just three questions and managed to answer correctly nearly 75 percent of its queries.

Apple Music coming to Echo smart speakers next month

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Echo Dot
You'll soon be able to play Apple Music on your Amazon speaker.
Photo: Amazon

In an early Christmas present to Apple fans with an Amazon Echo, Apple Music is coming to Amazon’s line of smart speakers next month. Apple Music will be available as an option on Echo devices starting December 17.

“Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices. “We’re thrilled to bring Apple Music – one of the most popular music services in the U.S. – to Echo customers this holiday.”

Echo sells better but HomePod sells smarter

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Amazon’s line up of Echo speakers accounts for 63 percent of all smart speakers in use, while Apple’s late-to-market offering, the HomePod, has just a 4 percent share of the market.

While the results of a quarterly consumer survey, published today in a report by Strategy Analytics, seem daunting for Apple, the numbers reflect only one side of the story.

Cavalier Maverick may be the most stylish smart speaker yet [Review]

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Cavalier
Feast your eyes on this beauty!
Photo: Cavalier

Boasting superior sound quality and a high-quality finish that ditches metal and plastic for distressed leather and fabrics, Cavalier Maverick is one of the best smart speakers we’ve tried.

It’s a third-party Amazon Alexa, offering the same functionality as an Echo, but in a far more premium package. And with a pretty neat mobile twist, too.