Google Assistant smart home partners list updates

Google Assistant already had a large number of official partners, but in attempts to keep ahead of the field (which until Amazon Alexa launches in Australia it will stay the case), Google has recently updated that list.
Now growing to over 200 brands, with a combined tally of over 2500 smart devices. You can read and learn about the brands, with the google official list and if you were already cued up on the devices available with google assistant here are the latest brand names now listed on the official partners over the last few updates.

Is Microsoft Cortana Competition to Google and Amazon

Microsoft has shown that voice assistant Cortana, is powerful enough to deal with a wide range of ‘Smart Technology’ from speakers and toasters, to fridges and Cars at the Build 2017 developer conference, announcing the platforms has developed a partnership with both BMW and Nissan. However so far there has only been one dedicated Cortana speaker, (the Harmon Kardon). While competitor assistants Alexa and Google Assistant continue to be a feature in more and more devices, Cortana seems to be falling behind. Microsoft is promising that more will come in time.

Microsoft has announced new partnerships with Ecobee, Honeywell, IFTTT, Lifx, and TP-Link, which is a big step forward for consumers wants and needs.  Now we need to see more variety in the choice of hardware to encourage  the longevity of the assistant.

Harmon Kardon & Microsoft Cortana

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This week Harman Kardon and Microsoft released the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana  by Microsoft for the exy price of $199.95 USD. The only country it was released in was the United States and with the sound powered by Harman Kardon, and that price tag, it’s easy to see the market they hope to reach. For the moment, powerful sounding speakers are few and far between, with the best on the market (personally considered) being the Google Home Max.
So, considering price range and Sound target this is what we would consider comparing with before deciding to buy.
The highlighted features of the invoke are –
Voice-activated speaker with premium sound and Cortana’s intelligence;
Powerful 360° sound delivered from 3 woofers, 3 tweeters, and 2 passive radiators;
Play your favourite music with the sound of your voice;
Get answers to questions;
Manage your schedule;
Set and receive reminders;
Make and receive hands-free calls with Skype;
Voice-control your smart home devices.
This leaves us with yet another companywith exciting software yet to come to the Australian Market.

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Harmon Kardon & Samsung

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To say there are a few smart speakers on the market at the moment is a huge understatement. A.I. and smart home companies are all in a race to beat competitors to market for the next big ‘it’ hardware. Amazon Alexa was the first to bring voice assistant and home controls to the market (but over two years later is yet to release in Australia) and Google Home, which is coming next (first to reach the Australian market).  Apple and Samsung are the next big tech companies to release their voice assistants in a speaker. Apple publicly announced the Smart speaker, Homepod, powered by voice assistant Siri, which is due to hit Australia in time for Christmas.

However, details for the South Korean company Samsung have been scarce so far, with many failed attempts to kick-start Voice Assistant Bixby. Due to a few reasons, the biggest being the lack of English recognition and support for the assistant features, and the next is assumed to an already flooded market with a strong fan base for the four other major Smart Assistants.  So far Samsung’s mobile division chief, DJ Koh has kept tightly lipped about any future hardware products coming out the Company, in September saying “Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it” in regards to a smart assist speaker. With no reliable announcement official as of yet, we are left watching as the Samsung team try to iron out any faults with the mobile assistant Bixby. We are left to assume that Koh may have been hinting towards Child Company Harman, which was recently acquired by Samsung back in March of this year, as part of the company’s biggest acquisition ever, which included and not limited to Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson.

It was shortly after this that Harman made the rather odd announcement of their smart assistant home speaker design and release date, none other than Microsoft Cortana would power that. As far as Harman Kardon is concerned this is an excellent move as Cortana has much more successful speech recognition and has already started to implement home automation controls on the PC and Xbox. For now, parent company Samsung, this might be a sign of defeat, or it may be a brilliant new partnership. Either is unclear right now.  What we do know now, is that the Harman Kardon came out this week, and it appears to be a powerful speaker. The public will decide what they think of Cortana as a Home Automation Assistant.

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New Owners for August Home

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In a HUGE game changer for once start-up company August Home, the company has recently been acquired by a new parent company Assa Abloy. The same parent company to Australia’s Lockwood and many other Lock and Technology Companies. The good news to any August Home fans and users is that this acquisition will not see a change of leadership for the company with Jason Johnson to stay in the role of CEO of August Homes, allowing funding and research to future technology to lean on Assa Abloy, and now sister company once rival company Yale, whom also develop smart locks.

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New devices from Google Hardware

Google press event has just finished and there will be a breakdown of all the major news to highlight in the next few posts. For now, I’ll leave you with a summary of those devices.

For starters Google Home has TWO new devices. The rumours about the smaller Google Home device were correct. Google Home now have mini and max. One is a discreet and mobile unit to bring Google Assistant to everyone in the house (and it’s super cheap, and coming to Australia within the month). The second, Google Home Max. A device that is solely focused on sound. With 2 tweeters and 2 woofers and AI learning to automatically adjust the sound per environment location and personal preference.

The Pixel 2 smart phone has been completely reinvented with focus on camera and storage which will come in 2 separate models.

The Pixelbook Chrome OS laptop, that has 4 in 1 user interface. Also, the pixel pen to enhance the way you use it.

Pixel buds – Wireless headphones with mic and controls in the ear pieces. Giving you Google Assistant when in use with a pixel phone, on the go.

And finally, Google Clips. A portable small pocket-sized AI learning camera that can take hands free and screen free videos, so you can live in the moment and capture the memories all at the same time.

BUT THE BEST NEWS, SIX of the devices announced, will be available to the Australian market in the near future.

A complete run down on the event can be read here with details on everything Google discussed, and hardware Australian availability, included suspected cost and order dates.

 If you so desire to watch the 2 hr live stream of the MadebyGoogle Event you can do so on their youtube channel.

Tech giant, Sony to work on a Smart Speaker.

Sony is ready to leave the station with their own smart speaker. Sony have announced they will be releasing their own connected home assistant. Eerily similar shaped to the apple home pod, and to drive home who they have in their targets. They are releasing the LF-S50G speaker in December, about the same time apple is due to release the home pod. A big change to the average design however is the inclusion of a digital clock on the side of the speaker. And the outer speaker grill being washable. It is said to come out in three colors.  No mention on an Australian release or cost yet. But we will be here waiting to report when it is.

And in case you’re wondering what assistant sonny has?  They don’t, they will be borrowing google assistant as a fellow android company.

Follow up on Amazon and Microsoft Partnership

So, after the surprise announcement of amazon and Microsoft joining sides. We can confirm this move means neither party will drop their respective assistant, but that the assistants will work hand in hand allowing you to access Cortana’s features from Alexa, and vice versa. While the pair of Assistants wont work in perfect harmony together you can expect a command similar to ” hey Cortana, open Alexa” or “alexa/Echo, open Cortana”


Amazon and assistant Alexa to partner with Microsoft and Cortana assistant, this news broke this week. Following news last week about Google partnering with Walmart for a chance to take on the giant online store. Looks like the big tech companies are gearing up to go head to head. So we are in for an interesting marketing show down.