Google has just announced its Google Home range of products in India which gives a direct fight to the likes of Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot. To counter this new release by Google, Amazon has put up a discount of Rs 2,000 on the purchase of two Echo Dot speakers. The Echo Dot which retails at Rs 4,499 on the Amazon India website can be purchased at Rs 2,000 less for Rs 7,998 when bought two at a time. Also, the higher version of the speaker, the Echo which retails at Rs 9,999 can be bought at Rs 16,998 when bought two at a time.
Previously also Amazon had been selling the Echo Dot, Echo and Echo Plus at the discounted prices of Rs 3,149, Rs 6,999 and Rs 10,499 respectively. It is worth noting that these smart speakers ship with a free one-year Amazon Prime membership and complimentary Prime Music access. With the coming of new competition in the market from Google’s side, Amazon has put up this new discount one year after the launch of its AI-based product.
The Echo being a smart speaker, functions on a skill base model. The Amazon Echo landed on the Indian shores on October 31, 2017, and it came with 11,000 skills. Further, the company spoke about the developments and said that within 60 days of the product going live, 1000 new skills were added to the store, now making the number of skills available on Echo store up to 12,000. Some Indian specific skills include starting Hanuman Chalisa, enabling Gayatri Mantra, GK India quiz etc.
The Amazon Echo has been designed to answer to its wake word whenever it is spoken in its proximity. The default wake word for all the Amazon Echo products is ‘Alexa’ which is the name of Amazon’s in-house voice assistant. Speaking the wake word followed by a command will intimidate the smart speaker to follow that and perform the required task given that it is within its capabilities. Also, with the growing attention towards the smart speakers market the range of skills which Alexa can demonstrate is growing continuously.
Until now the Amazon Echo has been the leader in smart speakers in India. With the coming of Google Home smart speaker, things could take a different turn. The Google Home makes its debut at the price point of Rs 9,999 while its smaller version the Google Home Mini will be shipped at the price of Rs 4,499. Google Home will also have a two-word wake word instead of the single wake word like in the Amazon Echo. The home will answer to the calling of ‘Okay Google’ which will make it less likely to trigger mistakenly. Besides this, the Home remains the more conversational of the two products and is also very likely to support Hindi by the end of this year. These new features and hastened development by Google in the smart speaker segment pose a solid competition to Amazon.
However, it would be wrong to say that the Amazon Echo gets left behind the Google Home entirely because even though the Home encompasses newer functionalities, the Echo still remains the one with the more skills. Both the devices have their own edges when it comes to features. Therefore, it will be upon the user to decide their smart speaker based on the features and functionalities which they are looking for.