Will More Phones With Alexa Access Compete with Google Assistant? LG, Motorola, and HTC Think So
Phones built with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant already built in are a growing market. Newer versions are pushing the prices of existing ones down and setting up a new arena for competition between Alexa and Google Assistant.
Alexa Phone Features
LG and Moto manufacture a few kinds of Alexa-enabled phones. They range from $500 high-end to $140 entry-level smartphones, but all of them bring Alexa to the user right out of the box. While most of the phones have a standard button to push to talk to the voice assistant, the hands-free variant is a feature in all of the latest and upcoming Alexa phones.
Amazon has been feeling its way into the phone assistant space for a while. A month ago, it scored the position of default voice assistant on the HTC U11 smartphone, a first for Alexa, and one it managed to beat Google Assistant and HTC’s own Sense Companion assistant. That users can turn on Alexa with their voice over the other two voice assistants on the phone almost certainly means it will be used more often.
There are still some limitations to Alexa as a hands-free assistant on phone. The assistant is unable to unlock the phone or communicate by call or text like the other voice assistants. Even as the default assistant, it behaves more like an accessory to the other options.
High-End Compared to Google Assistant
Alexa’s teething troubles on phones may be resolved with a few more iterations, but that doesn’t answer the central question. Will Alexa be able to directly compete with Google Assistant and phone brand voice assistants? Most of the phones with in-built Alexa access are on the higher end of feature phones or lower-end smartphones. People interested in buying the $23 Jiophone being manufactured with Google Assistant are not the ones spending $500 on a LG G8 ThinQ. And, there is no simple path for Alexa to achieve the deep mobile OS integration required for smartphone app feature control like you can get from Google Assistant on Android or Siri on iOS.
But, the fact that Alexa is being built into smartphones at all shows Amazon wants to compete on the playing field in general. Alexa’s strengths in smart home features may not translate to the mobile world well yet, but the more than 100 million feature phones with Google Assistant make it clear there’s an appetite for voice assistants on all kinds of mobile devices. Alexa wants to be mobile, and it’s adding more ways to travel all the time.