China overtakes US in smart speaker market share

The U.S. no longer leads the smart speaker market, according to new data from Canalys out this morning, which found China’s smart speaker shipments grew by 500% in Q1 2019 to overtake the U.S. and achieve a 51% market share. The firm said shipments in China reached 10.6 million units, which was driven by “festive […]

Amazon is testing a Spanish-language Alexa experience in the US ahead of a launch this year

Amazon announced today it has begun to ask customers to participate in a preview program that will help the company build a Spanish-language Alexa experience for U.S. users. The program, which is currently invite-only, will allow Amazon to incorporate into the U.S. Spanish-language experience a better understanding of things like word choice and local humor, […]

Amazon launches a certification program for Alexa skill developers

Developers building voice-enabled applications for Amazon Echo and other Alexa-powered devices will now have a new way to validate their abilities, with Amazon’s launch of a new AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty certification. This is the first time Amazon has offered a certification program for Alexa developers, the company says. Certification programs are […]

Review: The $199 Echo Link turns the fidelity up to 11

The Echo Link takes streaming music and makes it sound better. Just wirelessly connect it to an Echo device and plug it into a set of nice speakers. It’s the missing link. The Link bridges the gap between streaming music and a nice audio system. Instead of settling for the analog connection of an Echo […]

Over a quarter of US adults now own a smart speaker, typically an Amazon Echo

U.S. smart speaker owners grew 40 percent over 2018 to now reach 66.4 million — or 26.2 percent of the U.S. adult population — according to a new report from Voicebot.ai and Voicify released this week, which detailed adoption patterns and device market share. The report also reconfirmed Amazon Echo’s lead, noting the Alexa-powered smart […]

Put Alexa and a JBL speaker in your ceiling with this clever LED downlight

This light makes the smart home even more accessible. Installed as any other ceiling downlight, the June AI downlight features Amazon Alexa through integrated JBL speakers. There’s a light in there, too. The idea is great: make the smart home invisible. Instead of having an Amazon Echo sitting on a table, this device sits in […]

eMarketer: Amazon took 2/3 of smart speaker sales in 2018, but Echo will feel the squeeze in 2019

Smart speakers that let you control services and other connected devices in your home will continue to be a popular gift choice during the holiday season and into next year, when usage is set to rise by 15 percent, to 74.2 million people in the U.S., working out to 26.8 percent of the U.S. population, […]

Sonos delays Google Assistant integration until 2019, private beta to launch in 2018

Sonos today announced that Google Assistant will not be available on its products until at least 2019. The service was supposed to launch in 2018 but the company said in a blog posting it needs a bit more time. Additional information about timing will be released in early 2019, Sonos says. Eager customers can sign […]

Google Home Mini was the best-selling smart speaker in Q2

Amazon’s Echo Dot may have been a bestseller on Prime Day, but Google’s Home Mini device is now the top-selling smart speaker worldwide, according to a new report out this morning from Strategy Analytics. The analyst firm says Google’s small speaker accounted for 1 in 5 smart speaker shipments in Q2 2018, edging out the […]

You can now stream to your Sonos devices via AirPlay 2

Newer Sonos devices and “rooms” now appear as AirPlay 2-compatible devices, allowing you to stream audio to them via Apple devices. The solution is a long time coming for Sonos which promised AirPlay 2 support in October. You can stream to Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Playbase, and Play:5 speakers and ask Siri to play music […]