Amazon’s quest to become the next Apple – Telegraph.co.uk
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat weÃ¢Â€Â™ve done here with Amazon is to offer a huge opportunity to add what you do outside the car in your personal life into the vehicle,Ã¢Â€Â says Thom Brenner, head of digital services at BMW. The in-car version of Alexa will connect to devices in an ownerÃ¢Â€Â™s home to let them perform tasks while they drive, such as opening the garage door, turning on the heating and starting the laundry. Ã¢Â€ÂœThis is really the start of a new era. People can take their favourite capabilities and Alexa skills and use them in the car,Ã¢Â€Â says Brenner.
One of the major challenges for Amazon will be engaging customers with its services once they leave the house. As a first mover in the voice assistant space, the firm has an early advantage when it comes to smart home products. Almost 36m Americans use voice-activated speakers at least once a month, according to research from eMarketer, with 70pc of those doing so through an Echo. But its products, which connect to a mains power supply, are designed for inside.
Ã¢Â€ÂœClearly Amazon is leading the connected home and is poised to expand,Ã¢Â€Â says Goertz. Ã¢Â€ÂœBut the minute you step outside you lose contact with Alexa and that is something I think Amazon will be working on next. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s where the competition can still effectively challenge them.Ã¢Â€Â
There is a possibility that Amazon will need to release its own smartphone if it is to maintain a competitive edge against other technology giants. But its Fire phone, released in 2014, flopped. Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Fire phone was just short of a disaster. That was not a successful product,Ã¢Â€Â says Goertz. Ã¢Â€ÂœToday Amazon is trying to reach smartphone users by having Alexa embedded [in apps]. So it is somewhat present, but it is still not the same experience.Ã¢Â€Â He predicts Amazon could try launching a phone again, as early as next year.
That may not be soon enough. This week, Google is expected to unveil a new generation of smartphones and smart speakers that could see it catch up with Amazon. Later this year, Apple, which retains more clout than any rival, will release the HomePod, a smart speaker rival to the Echo. Amazon has the first-mover advantage, but if it is to define an industry in the same way the iPhone did, it cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
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