Google Reveals its Assistant Hardware Partners for 2018

Posted on January 9, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Hardware, iOS, Mobile, Smart Home with 10 Comments

With CES underway in Las Vegas, Google has announced a stunning list of partners that will sell Google Assistant devices in 2018.

This is a nice follow-up to my post Digital Assistants Loom Large Over CES, But Where is Cortana? (Premium), from yesterday, which detailed how Alexa maker Amazon is partnering with PC makers to bring its assistant to the PC and other devices too.

As I noted in that post, Google is all over CES, if virtually: Advertisements for Google Assistant are, almost literally, everywhere.

And that makes sense. For last year’s show, Google had a few partners to cart out, like NVIDIA and Sony, which brought Google Assistant to their Android TV offerings. This year? Well, this year is a lot more impressive.

“The Assistant now works with over 225 home control brands and more than 1,500 devices, including a bunch of new ones from Abode, Crestron, Gourmia, Insteon, Kohler, and Yonomi,” Google VP Scott Huffman notes. “With these integrations, millions of new smart home devices are being connected to the Assistant every month, so you can stay in control, whether you want to heat up the house, check on the laundry or make sure you locked the back door.”

Here are the partners that are working to bring Google Assistant to various hardware products in 2018.

Existing Android TVs. AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth, and Xiaomi will all add Google Assistant this year.

New Android TVs. Changhong, Element, Funai, Haier, Hisense, and Westinghouse are announcing new Android TVs at CES, and each comes with Google Assistant.

Smart TVs. Google Assistant is an integrated component of a new line of LG smart TVs that are being announced at CES.

Smart speakers. Google Assistant is coming to new voice-activated speakers from Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio, and SōLIS in 2018.

Smart Displays. JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony are bringing the Assistant and Google Cast to smart displays. Brad and I checked out Lenovo’s smart display last night; you can read Mehedi’s write-up here.

Smart headphones. Jaybird, JBL, LG, and Sony are all bringing Google Assistant to smart headphones. Well, sort of: These headphones will pair with your phone and then work with the Assistant there.

Automobiles. Starting this week in the U.S., Google Assistant is coming to Android Auto, which has pervasive reach: It is available now in tens of millions of cars on more than 400 models from over 40 brands, including Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Volvo. Android Auto is also available as a mobile app for those that do not have this feature built into their vehicles.

Folks, this is fairly amazing. And it is exactly what Google needs to do to establish itself as one of two viable digital assistant technologies.

 

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Google Reveals its Assistant Hardware Partners for 2018”

  1. chrisrut

    Well Paul, as you've indicated many times, Microsoft doesn't even seem to be standing on the dock watching this boat sail away. But ok - its an Amazon and Google party - celebrate what is rather than what coulda shoulda been. But jeeze...


    • jrickel96

      In reply to chrisrut:

      Usage rates on these things are terrible. There are major players that have developed for them and been lied to by Amazon and Google about adoption rates and the potential to monetize the platform.


      Microsoft is not succeeding because they are not making false promises.


      Digital Assistants are niche products. They are not mainstream. People stop using them fairly quickly. Google Assistant and Alexa have under a 30% usage rate based on install base and those numbers are shrinking.


      In short, these things don't help move TVs or anything. Echo speaker sales fall way off after Christmas. They are a novelty Christmas gift that often gets abandoned a few months later. Those that do use the devices primarily only ask to play music or get a weather or news report.


      Google and Amazon have done a great job marketing them and touting them as the next big thing, but in two years no one will be talking about either. You'll find that many of these products with them built in will have disappeared or that feature will be minimized because they won't sell TVs or refrigerators or anything else. Surveys indicate that Echo sales over the holiday failed to come anywhere near pre-Christmas projections. I think one of them estimated 11 million sold between Oct-Dec when projections were over 22 million. Google Home continues to struggle in the market as well.


      And of those 11 million, under 3.5 million will end up using them regularly. Active monthly users for Alexa may cross 10 million by next Christmas.


      Now if most of those people are dedicated Amazon Primers and use them to reorder stuff, that's a solid number for Amazon. It's not a great number for anyone else developing for the platform.


      This digital assistant hype is smoke and mirrors created in an attempt to drive adoption and hope that the promises made can somehow come true.


      But if there is not a massive swing soon, both ecosystems will die on the vine.


      Amazon's desperation is apparent in bringing Alexa to Windows. They've failed miserably in getting anyone on Android or iOS to use Alexa (around 3.5% of smartphone users have downloaded Alexa), so they have to keep trying. They have to keep up appearances that this is going well.


      It's not. If it were, they'd release real numbers on their devices. There's a reason why they don't. Talk to devs that were sold a bill of goods by them that smart assistants were the next big thing and ask them about their usage rates and how bad adoption is.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to ghostrider:

      In a couple years, Microsoft will be like "we're going to partner with third-parties to bring Cortana skills to other digital assistants", and you'll never hear about it again.

      • jrickel96

        In reply to Waethorn:

        In a couple of years, Alexa will be gone. Adoption is really bad and hidden by the marketing push. Devs are going to bail on the platform by next year. Under 30% device usage rates are terrible and they are getting worse.


        Some of the smartest people I've worked with know the tracking data and think smart assistants are a tiny fad that have no real way to monetize what they do for anyone other than the creator of the smart assistant.


        For instance, the NBA skill for Alexa has hundreds of dedicated users. Hundreds. Not thousands. Not millions. There's a reason why there've only been 18 reviews on Amazon's site over the three months since release - no one uses the skill. I've heard the NBA is far from thrilled because they were told Alexa would be so much bigger.


        I know the same goes for Domino's. They get under 1,000 orders nationally per week from all Smart Assistants. They have more people by far ordering via Slack and Twitter. They were told it would be so much bigger, that Alexa could drive a lot more orders to them a week.


        So Alexa is great for Amazon. A lot of dedicated Prime customers use it to reorder. It works well for Spotify. It does little for anyone else that supports it.


        So what exactly is MS missing out on? Deceiving partners into thinking this will be much bigger than it actually will be?

    • Marius Muntean

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Totally irrelevant, just like the entire pathetic company.

  2. Jorge Garcia

    Let's just pray that Google will be at least somewhat benevolent overlords for as long as possible, because they WILL be the victors in this race.

  3. Jorge Garcia

    Google needs to phase out the Android name entirely, and fast. It's just Google and that's it. It seems like they have started to do that.

  4. Marius Muntean

    :))) Take that Microshit!

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