ARCHOS Mate to be the First Mass Produced Smart Display with Alexa Not Made by Amazon
- ARCHOS Mate is an Alexa-enabled smart display that will be available in early 2019 and is only the second device in the category not manufactured by Amazon
- The device will be available in 5-inch and 7-inch display models priced at $129 and $149 respectively
- ARCHOS Mate will support English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and supports both voice and touch interaction, but will not initially be available in the U.S.
The ARCHOS Mate smart display will be demonstrated at CES and begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019. It will also become the second smart display with Alexa not made by Amazon. The Amazon Echo Show was the first smart display, a device that provides the voice-driven user interaction experience of a smart speaker combined with a display screen. While many manufacturers have produced Alexa-compatible smart speakers, none signed up initially to use Alexa inside of a smart display. Nucleus has offered the only other device using Alexa in the category and it was developed before the Echo Show. However, the device is currently listed as out-of-stock and is only available used through three sellers on Amazon.com.
Google has had more luck recruiting smart display partners for Google Assistant. ARCHOS introduced a Google Assistant-enabled smart display called Hello in late 2018 when it joined similar devices launched by Lenovo, JBL, and LG. Google has an advantage in this segment as many device makers are already familiar with Android OS for tablets and televisions and Google Assistant is viewed as a logical feature extension. So, this announcement is a positive development for Amazon which has been slower to gain traction with screen-based device makers.
A Competitive Price Point, Video Calling, and Supporting 5 Languages
The ARCHOS Mate will be available through the company’s retail partners with the 5-inch and 7-inch models selling for $129 and $149 respectively. This price point may also be helpful to Amazon as the current Echo Show 2 model sells for $229 compared to the Google Home Hub list price of $149. Amazon does still have some availability of its Gen 1 Echo Show for $99, but there is an expectation that the device will go away once inventory is sold out and it is only available in three countries. ARCHOS Mate provides Amazon with another price point for a smart display that keeps Alexa in the forefront with consumers. However, ARCHOS does not currently list any product distributors in the U.S., so this will largely be for European markets at least initially.
ARCHOS Mate will support English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish at the time of launch. It also includes a 5MP camera on the front which can enable 2-way video calling, a feature that the cameraless Google Home Hub does not offer. Loïc Poirier, CEO of ARCHOS, commented:
More and more families are purchasing voice-enabled devices to make their lives easier. By combining a display and Alexa into one product, ARCHOS is giving users the flexibility to see and hear response to their interactions.
Will Smart Displays Become Popular?
It is unclear whether smart displays will gain widespread consumer adoption similar to smart speakers. So far, fewer than 10% of smart speaker owners have opted to add a smart display to their device collection. Whereas smart speakers have become a must-have smart home accessory, smart displays still fall into the nice-to-have category.
New options such as ARCHOS Mate could start to change the hitherto tepid consumer response, but so far the category has not been a breakaway success. Many voice industry insiders predict that 2019 will be a big year for multimodal voice AI interactions. If so, smart displays are likely to become an important component of that shift along with voice interactive TVs and smartphones.