Amazon’s Echo witnessed strong sales
Launched in 2014, Amazon’s (AMZN) AI (artificial intelligence) powered, voice-controlled smart speaker Echo is a major hit. Though the company hasn’t disclosed the sales numbers for its smart speaker, it did state that the demand for Echo remains high and that it’s struggling to maintain stock.
According to the company, “Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.” Moreover, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled, which helps users to stream other popular music services such as iTunes from phones or tablets.
Amazon recently announced two new smaller versions of Echo, Amazon Tap and Echo Dot. Meanwhile, the company made Alexa, the artificial personality behind Echo, much smarter. The company stated that “developers have now released over 1,000 skills for Alexa, the cloud-based virtual assistant behind Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Tap, and other Alexa-enabled devices.”
Google announces Google Home, a direct competitor to Echo
It seems that Amazon’s strategic move to develop and sell a voice-controlled virtual assistant for the home was a great decision, as it has made the company a formidable player. Big names such as Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB), and Microsoft (MSFT) have invested largely in AI.
Recently, Google announced that it plans to launch Google Home later in 2016 as an answer to Amazon’s Echo. Google Home will be much like Amazon’s Echo. It will be connected through smart speakers and commanded through voice. Even Apple is reportedly building an Echo competitor.
Amazon constitutes nearly 6.5% of the PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ETF (QQQ).