A number of writers and analysts have declared 2017 “the year of the smart speaker,” and some are giving Amazon the decided edge after this holiday season.
Amazon announced a “record holiday shopping season” for its devices this year, and the company claims its Echo Dot “was the #1 selling Amazon Device this holiday season, and the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon, with millions sold.”
Amazon is famously secretive with its actual sales figures, but there’s little reason to believe the company would be misleading about the overall success of its Echo Dot and other Alexa-related products. Anecdotally, the speakers appeared to be very popular gifts this year — the small, hockey puck-shaped Dot is still selling for just $30 — and Amazon’s announcement seems to bear that out.
There are other indications, as well. The Amazon Alexa app hit the top spot in Apple’s App Store recently, and as of this writing, it’s still the third highest ranking free app. The Google Home app is currently #16 — still impressive.
It’s clear that this year was a tipping point. Competitive pricing and refined products have led millions of people to bring smart home capabilities into their households, and the entire category should only see increased growth going forward, with more compatible devices, as well as smart home speaker competitors.
We have a few helpful articles for new owners of Alexa-related devices. Read Ten Alexa Skills To Turn Your House Into A Smart Home to take your device to the next level. Also learn how to Use Alexa To Increase Your Safety — And Serenity.
For those who may still be deciding between Amazon’s products and Google’s competitors, check out our Security Watch: Amazon Echo Vs. Google Home.
Despite the excitement of these accessible speakers bringing home automation to the masses, as always, we must express some caution with these devices. A Gizmodo opinion piece from earlier this month was titled, “Don’t Buy Anyone an Echo.”
The piece makes the typical — and completely warranted — points about privacy concerns. But furthermore, writer Adam Clark Estes makes the point that plenty of smart home products work just fine with their respective apps, no smart speaker needed.
At this point, however, it appears that for many consumers, the genie is out of the bottle. Of course, we’ll be updating users on any further privacy and security concerns that may arise with these devices.