Amazon Alexa Already Winning Virtual Assistant Showdown

Amazon’s Alexa, the personal in-home assistant, has been ranked as the best digital virtual assistant of 2016 by both industry experts and sales.

Amazon’s Alexa, the personal in-home assistant launched with the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Echo, completely obliterated its competition in the smart home market last year, and is poised to make an even bigger impact in 2017.

Alexa Ranked Best Digital Virtual Assistant of 2016

Sitting atop CNET’s list for the best smart home devices for 2016 was Amazon’s Echo, edging out competitors like Nest, Phillips, and other top producers. Alexa even took home the top-spot at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, leading major tech website Wired to run the headline: “Alexa Just Conquered CES. The World Is Next.” Alexa’s praise isn’t solely relegated to techies and those within the industry, companies like Ford and LG unveiled new products with Alexa integration last year.

While the market for smart home devices are still comparatively smaller than the one for smartphones, Amazon has quickly asserted itself as the dominant player. Google, Microsoft, and Apple are coming out with their own voice-activated speaker technologies, but Amazon remains the company to beat.

Experts say that Amazon was able to maneuver itself into the top spot by not overselling its Alexa, as Apple repeatedly did with Siri, Business Insider reports. Instead of selling the Echo as a device that was more than just a speaker, Amazon marketed the Echo as a speaker with a few smart voice commands built in. Overtime, as Siri let consumers down and positive press spread about Amazon’s alternative, the online retailer carefully added new sets of capabilities to Alexa. Today, Alexa boasts thousands of commands that allow it to: order its owner an Uber, order products from Amazon.com, or even read the day’s news.

Amazon’s Echo is the now the central device in the market for smart home technology. It has the capacity to interact with nearly every aspect of a user’s home, including: lights, thermostats, and door locks.

The central part of Echo that helps to make Amazon more successful is that it is built to make it easier for the consumer to give more of their money to Amazon. From playing music to making a purchase, the device defaults to Amazon.com. Essentially, the interface always insures that the user is connecting with Amazon, especially when spending money.

Looking at Amazon’s holiday sales of its smart home devices, it is easy to see that consumers are jiving with Amazon’s Alexa.

The company had its best holiday sales season this past Christmas. The firm said it outpaced sales goals for its flagship Amazon Echo family this December, with sales up over nine times what they were compared to last year’s holiday season.  The online vendor sold millions of Alexa devices worldwide. Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire tablet were also top-sellers this year.

Echo and Echo Dot were the best-selling products across Amazon this year, and we’re thrilled that millions of new customers will be introduced to Alexa as a result,” CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon, Jeff Wilke said in a Tuesday press release. “We couldn’t have made this holiday season possible for customers without the dedication and hard work of our customer service, transportation, and fulfillment associates along with our carrier partners.”

The online vendor was so successful in selling its Amazon Echo this holiday season, that it had to halt shipping of the product because it ran out of inventory.

As sales of Alexa devices are on the rise, the clock is ticking for Amazon’s competitors to find a viable option to compete.

Amazon Alexa Photo via Shutterstock

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Xiaomi CEO confirms that the next-gen Mi MIX is already being developed

The Mi MIX is one of the most exciting devices to come out of Xiaomi’s sheds. According to the CEO of Xiaomi, Lei Jun, the company is already working on a successor to this widely popular device. It will be interesting to see how the company will innovate with the second-gen variant, especially since the Mi MIX brought so many new things to the table.

It is possible that most of the upgrades will be under the hood, and not cosmetic. Jun didn’t go into detail about this particular aspect, although it’s possible that we’ll hear more about it in the months to come.

Jun posted the following on Weibo (in Chinese), along with a picture, “Today, I am pleased to meet again with international design master Philip Stark, who introduced me the design concept of millet MIX next generation, and then we both will continue to explore how to make these exciting innovations as a reality The product. Come on, millet!”

We have only heard that Xiaomi is aiming for a 93% screen to body ratio for the Mi MIX 2, although it’s not set in stone at the moment. Given the amount of time that Xiaomi takes to develop its phones (the Mi 5, for example), we’re not holding our breath for the announcement of this new handset.

Xiaomi is currently lagging behind some top manufacturers in the industry, so it makes sense for the company to release more handsets like the Mi Mix so as to get themselves ahead of the rivals. But given how stiff the competition is in the mobile industry, it won’t be an easy ask for the Chinese manufacturer.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Is the Mobile App Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” (INFOGRAPHIC)

Is the Mobile App Market Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” Moment

Barring Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and other hugely successful names, many apps are actually rarely used or even downloaded by mobile device owners. Yet many businesses spend considerable time and resources creating apps to engage customers.

A new study from comScore now says we’re nearing the “Peak App” moment, which suggests businesses should revisit their mobile app strategy.

Highlights of the comScore Report

Astonishingly, the comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) study reveals 49 percent of smartphone users do not download any apps per month. About 24 percent of users install one or two apps over the same period.

Those who install more than five apps a month are more likely to be males aged between 18 and 44 years old, and they live in cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Houston.

Interestingly, the comScore report isn’t the only recent study to highlight the declining popularity of mobile apps. Another study by app tracker SensorTower has also revealed an average 20 percent drop in downloads in the U.S.

What This Change in the Mobile App Market Means for Your Business

Declining popularity of mobile apps doesn’t come as a surprise. Think about it. How many apps do you install and actually use on your mobile device?

It’s also a choice that many users are making today because installing too many apps is inconvenient and unnecessary. So if you want to go ahead and build an app, you have to give your customers a very good reason to install it.

Vik Patel, CEO of Detroit-based Future Hosting says, “If we were to ask users to install an app, there would have to be a very good reason. Good reasons include a genuine need for access to on-device features like the camera or accelerometer, or a requirement for graphical capabilities available only to native applications.”

Building an app requires both time and money. It’s therefore important for you to explore all options before making a decision. Does your business really need an app? Is it enough for you to just optimize your website for mobile? Can you instead focus more on engaging customers on social media?

These are some questions that you must answer before making  a decision to invest in creating a mobile app.

At the same time, a mobile app can work really well for your business if you have the right strategy in place. If you are a small store owner, for instance, you can leverage your mobile app to implement loyalty programs or push notifications to drive footfalls.

“The total number of people using your apps and the time they are spending on average, those two combined is how you should measure the potential of an app to generate a lot of revenue down the line,” advises Fabien Pierre-Nicolas, VP of marketing at app analytics firm App Annie.

See more stats on apps from the coomScore report in the infographic below:

Is the Mobile App Market Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” Moment
Download Report and Infographic

Image: comScore

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Is the Mobile App Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” (INFOGRAPHIC)

Is the Mobile App Market Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” MomentBarring Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and other hugely successful names, many apps are actually rarely used or even downloaded by mobile device owners. Yet many businesses spend considerable time and resources creating apps to engage customers.

A new study from comScore now says we’re nearing the “Peak App” moment, which suggests businesses should revisit their mobile app strategy.

Highlights of the comScore Report

Astonishingly, the comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) study reveals 49 percent of smartphone users do not download any apps per month. About 24 percent of users install one or two apps over the same period.

Those who install more than five apps a month are more likely to be males aged between 18 and 44 years old, and they live in cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Houston.

Interestingly, the comScore report isn’t the only recent study to highlight the declining popularity of mobile apps. Another study by app tracker SensorTower has also revealed an average 20 percent drop in downloads in the U.S.

What This Change in the Mobile App Market Means for Your Business

Declining popularity of mobile apps doesn’t come as a surprise. Think about it. How many apps do you install and actually use on your mobile device?

It’s also a choice that many users are making today because installing too many apps is inconvenient and unnecessary. So if you want to go ahead and build an app, you have to give your customers a very good reason to install it.

Vik Patel, CEO of Detroit-based Future Hosting says, “If we were to ask users to install an app, there would have to be a very good reason. Good reasons include a genuine need for access to on-device features like the camera or accelerometer, or a requirement for graphical capabilities available only to native applications.”

Building an app requires both time and money. It’s therefore important for you to explore all options before making a decision. Does your business really need an app? Is it enough for you to just optimize your website for mobile? Can you instead focus more on engaging customers on social media?

These are some questions that you must answer before making  a decision to invest in creating a mobile app.

At the same time, a mobile app can work really well for your business if you have the right strategy in place. If you are a small store owner, for instance, you can leverage your mobile app to implement loyalty programs or push notifications to drive footfalls.

“The total number of people using your apps and the time they are spending on average, those two combined is how you should measure the potential of an app to generate a lot of revenue down the line,” advises Fabien Pierre-Nicolas, VP of marketing at app analytics firm App Annie.

See more stats on apps from the coomScore report in the infographic below:

Download Report and Infographic

Image: comScore

[“source-smallbiztrends”]