CES showed us smart displays will be the new normal

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However users who choose to use Google Assistant will actually have access to more features. But these tech giants have built an imposing presence here this year as they work to weave their voice-operated digital assistants more deeply into our personal lives.

"We see virtual assistants as inevitable in the workplace", said Joel Jacobs, vice president, CIO and CSO at MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Mass.

That's what the results of a new survey from NPR and Edison Research confirm, as devices like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home continue to grow in popularity.

With this new Google Assistant integration, you should be able to use more advanced functions like control external hardware (lights and locks at home, universal remotes, etc.) and set per-account preferences like preferred apps for music. Both look attractive enough, but since they're on the rear of the device it's easy to imagine that many users will never even see the colour of the rear - so we'd encourage picking your model based on the screen and price, not the finish.

Amazon's personal digital assistant is poised to hitch a ride on Toyota and Lexus cars. While those consumer electronics categories are still well represented at the annual technology convention in Las Vegas, they are overshadowed by autonomous vehicle, artificial intelligence, computers, apps, AR, VR, health trackers, drones, and more, to name just a tiny few categories.

But these smart products can - and sometimes do - support multiple assistants. For CES 2018, that was Amazon's Alexa.

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Amazon's Alexa virtually dominates the voice-based AI space with a 82% market share with Google Home way behind at 18%. For example, you can preheat your oven by saying, "Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the upper oven to 350".

Apple past year announced plans to launch a high-end HomePod speaker, but it mysteriously delayed the launch. But manufacturers aren't taking the chance that they'll be left behind if one or the other assistant becomes dominant.

There has also been a host of new smart cameras on show, many of which boast bigger megapixel lenses and better night vision. "So this open partner, open platform system, is definitely the way to go".

On the basic technology level, Alexa has, for competition, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Samsung's Bixby.

This was announced by the Japanese carmaker at the CES 2018 this week. Today, three years later, 16% of Americans own a smart speaker. The redesigned Google Store is part of the company's "revamped" consumer push to take down Amazon's assistant.

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