The Artificial Intelligence Arms Race: Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, Siri, Viv… and What's Next

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As one of our mobility analysts at Blue Hill, I get (perhaps unduly) excited over any shiny new gadget, even though I've recently been disappointed by what seems like a lack of innovation in the mobile market (cue the "I miss the old Apple" rant). That's why I was excited, but skeptical, to cover Google's October 4th product announcement of its long anticipated "first" smartphone. But it's really not the hardware Google is focusing on with its most recent product launch, though it could certainly seem that way from its unveiling of the Pixel (the first Google branded smartphone), the Daydream View virtual reality (VR) headset, and the Google Home smart hub. No, it hasn't been about hardware for the past few years for mobile device manufacturers it certainly seems, with only small incremental changes being made to hardware (or, in the case of Apple's removal of the headphone jack, gigantic leaps and bounds of courage … but that's another story). Most of the focus of smartphone innovation instead has been coming from within: with the software, and most recently, artificial intelligence.


Samsung Buys US Cloud Computing Firm Joyent To Drive VR And Artificial Intelligence Efforts

International Business Times

Samsung has bought U.S. cloud computing company Joyent, but the world's biggest smartphone maker is not about to go head-to-head with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. Samsung is, in fact, planning to use the processing power of cloud computing to help it drive innovations in its smartphone software, particularly around artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Samsung has acquired the 11-year-old, San Francisco-based Joyent for an undisclosed sum and while the company's main operations will continue as normal -- selling access to public and private cloud computing services -- Samsung will be looking to leverage the company's expertise to help improve the software and services it offers to its tens of millions of smartphone customers. Samsung said Joyent will continue to operate independently and it will effectively become Joyent's biggest customer, allowing it to remove its current dependence on Amazon's and Microsoft's cloud services. However, it is how Samsung is going to leverage the potential of Joyent's expertise in this area that will be of utmost interest.


Google readies new phones, gadgets featuring its software

Associated Press

FILE - In this May 18, 2016 file photo, Google vice president Mario Queiroz gestures while introducing the new Google Home device during the keynote address of the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, the search giant will ramp up its consumer electronics strategy with expected announcements of new gadgets including new smartphones and an internet-connected personal-assistant for the home similar to Amazon's Echo speaker. FILE - In this May 18, 2016 file photo, Google vice president Mario Queiroz gestures while introducing the new Google Home device during the keynote address of the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, the search giant will ramp up its consumer electronics strategy with expected announcements of new gadgets including new smartphones and an internet-connected personal-assistant for the home similar to Amazon's Echo speaker. On Tuesday, the search giant will ramp up its consumer electronics strategy with expected announcements of new gadgets including new smartphones and an internet-connected personal-assistant for the home similar to Amazon's Echo speaker. The "Home" device will feature Google's digital "Assistant" service, a voice-activated personal butler that can search the internet, play music or perform other useful tasks.


Hey Alexa, what are your competitors doing?

PCWorld

Internet-connected intelligent gizmos had a big showing at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and there is one common thread between many ofthem: Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant. Lenovo has a new speaker featuring the assistant. Volkswagen and Ford are building Alexa into their cars. Plus, there's a whole flotilla of other connected devices featuring Alexa, including a high-tech refrigerator from LG. That's not to say other virtual assistants aren't doing the same thing, but Amazon is the clear winner by volume at CES. So, what does that mean for the virtual assistant market, which includes competitors such as Microsoft's Cortana, the Google Assistant and Apple's Siri?


Why Amazon Alexa Will Take Over Your Phone and Your Office Next

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Last month, Huawei boasted that its new Mate 9 will be the first smartphone to come preloaded with Amazon's Alexa smart voice recognition-and-search software. But it most certainly won't be the last. Beyond the home, it's evident that Amazon is determined to embed Alexa in mobile devices and in offices. Alexa and Echo, Amazon's companion Internet-connected speaker device, already have a strong presence in the living room, making Echo an unexpected hit. In the U.S., more than 8.2 million people have an Echo, according to market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.