2017 was certainly a breakthrough year for smart home technology. With more products flooding the market, people are keener than ever before to get their hands on them. Google locked horns with Amazon and increased its efforts to reduce the delivery giants’ market share in the smart home assistant market by introducing its very own rival to the Echo Dot at the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Google Home mini. However, the announcement we’ve all been waiting for happened last year when Apple finally declared it would be joining the market with the impressive looking HomePod. With many delays, the highly anticipated HomePod is due to be released next week, although, at the dearer price of £319. Can the Apple HomePod really be that much better than its competitors to justify such a huge price difference?
These futuristic pieces of tech first hit the headlines when Amazon brought the Echo to the mass market in 2014 and had a whole two years unchallenged by any major brands until Google flexed the ‘Home’ in 2016. At the current price of £89.99 and £129 respectively, these flagship products are considerably cheaper than the Apple alternative, and have already had years of experience within the market.
So what’s the difference between the Amazon Echo and the Google Home? Very little in terms of functionality. Their sound quality and hardware do very little to differentiate the two. The Echo runs ‘Alexa’ which is slightly more user friendly in the sense that it supposedly simulates a person/robot as opposed to the Google Home, which is essentially an advanced Google search or asking Google to perform tasks for you. However, the users suggest that the Google Home is a nicer interface to use day-to-day whilst the Alexa is more tailored to consumerism. With 99p being the difference between their cheapest offerings, personal preference seems to be the deciding factor between these two brands.
Now the HomePod, in a typical Apple fashion, has made a loud entrance with this product, quite literally. From what Apple has told us so far, the HomePod will not only be a home assistant, but a speaker to rival the likes of Bose in terms of sound quality; given that the HomePod is much heavier than any Amazon device and the majority of Google’s, we’d hope so! One of the key focus’ from Apple in the past two years is Apple Music, so it’s not at all surprising they are bringing out a product to complement and extend the popular monthly subscription.
One of the major criticisms from Apple over the past few years has been the woman we used to love, Siri. The general consensus among consumers is that Siri is falling far behind its market rivals in terms of personal assistants, she is however 6 years old, making her 3 years older than Alexa. We’re sure people would be hesitant to purchase the HomePod unless Siri was improved, because the alternate would be getting a Google or Amazon device and also purchasing an external speaker which could be controlled by the assistants for a better user experience.
Here at QDOS we are very excited by one of our favourite brands delving into a new market, and we do hope that the HomePod is a success, however we for sure have our reservations about buying this before getting hands-on with it given the price.
See what other tech we're excited to see in 2018 here.