Klipsch Debuts Smart Speakers at CES, Chose Google Assistant for Global Market Implications
Premium audio device manufacturer Klipsch debuted two new sound bars at CES this year in addition to showing its new smart speaker, the Three, at market for the first time. Bar 40G is the company’s first smart sound bar featuring Google Assistant integration. The 40” speaker connects directly to the TV through HDMI, allowing users to access movies, music and streaming content using voice commands on the big screen. The Bar 40G will retail for $399 and be available to ship this summer. It also debuted a larger version, Bar 48W, which is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay2 giving users the ability to turn the sound bar into a smart speaker through any of the three voice assistant integrated devices.
Klipsch also displayed its first smart speaker, The Three with Google Assistant, which it launched in November of last year and retails for $499. The Three has the mid-century modern design that the company is known and features real wood veneer and copper switches and knobs. It looks more like a vintage heirloom than a sleek smart speaker, but that could be to the company’s benefit in an increasingly saturated market. I was also told the company plans to launch a Google Assistant integrated version of The One speaker, a smaller portable version of The Three, later this year.
Google Assistant for a Global Market
Klipsch is an American company founded in the 1940s but since about 2005, the company has made strategic efforts to go global. It was acquired by VOXX International and established a European headquarters in 2011. In 2017, it also added distribution partners in Canada, the UK, and Australia. This global strategy is why Klipsch chose to go with Google Assistant over Amazon Alexa for “its global implications” according to a company representative.
The strategy of which voice assistant to integrate in a company’s products is becoming increasingly important as voice assistant consumer adoption continues to grow in the U.S and abroad. Which is why some choose not to make a choice at all. But for a company looking to expand its global footprint, the choice of Google Assistant is a smart one as it speaks the most languages and is rapidly growing its language capabilities. Google’s strategy has been to rapidly expand its assistant’s global reach. It seems manufacturers are taking notice.