Motorola Adds Alexa to a New Home Phone
Dearlerscope is reporting on Motorola’s addition of Alexa to cordless home phones. The article by Rob Stott positions this as an effort to save the home phone market saying, “just under 50 percent of homes still have a landline, according to a 2017 report. But SGW Global, through its licensing deal with Motorola, has a plan to bring the home phone back into the conversation…The idea of bringing Alexa to the home phone seems almost logical at this point…On the flip side of this, adding Alexa to the home phone feels like a last ditch effort to create excitement around a product category that has been on the decline for years.” Stott added:
“According to a brief statement emailed to Dealerscope, SGW Global explained that users will be able to perform basic functions like asking Alexa to make a phone call, to making Alexa to Alexa calls by asking her to call “Rob’s Echo” for example. Additionally, you’ll be able to control your other Alexa-enabled smart home products, add items to your shopping list, call for a cab, and more.”
This isn’t exactly news since SGW and Motorola have previously announced other phones with Alexa access. It is interesting though that there is a continued push in this direction.
Alexa Everywhere, but Does It Make Sense
Voicebot agrees with the “last-ditch effort” and “almost logical” analyses. The core value of smart speakers in the home is the far-field microphone that means you can execute tasks from wherever you are without needing any device. If you must have a device and microphones operating in the near-field, you can use your smart phone which can also access Alexa features. This may be good for Amazon since the company’s stated strategy is to have “Alexa Everywhere.” And, a product in a declining market is surely looking for new features to make it more attractive. However, it is hard to see how the added utility can overcome the forces driving home phones into oblivion. In fact, the emergence of smart speakers with calling features are likely to accelerate the product category decline.
We saw at CES that every product wanted to be seen as having a voice assistant angle. Sounds like IFA will be following a similar trend.