(image from Amazon.com, the Alexa Family)
This fall has some interesting technology releases. First off there are the new additions to the Alexa family and the Google Home family. We have both Google home (in my wife’s office) and Amazon Echos (a total of four throughout the house). Plus, this fall also brings us the Harmon Kardon Invoke featuring Cortana. I did a shootout between an Android Tablet (the Samsung Note) and the iOS tablet (iPad) running the two primary native voice command systems (Google and Siri). I found that overall Cortana on non-native hardware was a better solution overall than the other two.
Now the new and big test. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to use the three with their native speakers. There has to be a better way to say that than using the broader native speakers. What I mean is that I will test each of them with the overall hardware combination that they, the company releasing the voice command system, recommends. I am going to do this testing in my house, so I am not riding on the Metro shouting Hey Cortana or Hey Siri. Plus the Amazon Alexa and Google Home systems are stationary speakers. The new HK Invoke is also a stationary speaker. I also have an Apple TV that includes Siri but doesn’t plan on pushing Siri’s “buttons” anymore. Siri is ok but remains not as good as the other three to date.
The initial test is look and feel. Let’s talk about the look of the three primarily available (there is a rumored soon to be on the market Apple Siri Speaker, but it is not available currently). All three have a similar experience. The Google Home speaker is wider at the base than the top. It has a two-tone finish. The HK Invoke (Cortana) and the Amazon Echo (Alexa) are both cylinders and single color. Overall I would say all three are appealing. I am not embarrassed nor do I hide any of the three. Test one, appearance so far all three look good!