Last September, Amazon announced a voice assistant alliance ahead of its yearly fall event with the goal to ensure smart devices are compatible with multiple digital assistants concurrently. Nearly a year later, the coalition has over 70 companies pledging support, including Facebook, Garmin, and Xiaomi, which recently joined. Yet, Amazon’s biggest rivals in the voice assistant space — Apple, Google, and Samsung — have yet to join.
Amazon’s Voice Interoperability Initiative’s goal is to have companies create smart devices that support multiple voice assistants like Alexa or Cortana concurrently. But without Apple, Google, and Samsung’s voice assistants (Siri, Google Assistant, and Bixby), the biggest competitors to Alexa, the idea feels empty. They’ve got 70+ companies on board, but it seems like they’re missing the ones that matter?
The announcement of the three new members don’t seem that big of a deal for Amazon’s initiative, either, as each company already supports Alexa:
- Facebook’s Portal devices have Alexa integration
- Garmin’s GPS devices include Amazon Alexa
- Xiaomi has an Alexa skill that allows the voice assistant to connect and operate its smart devices
Oddly enough, Apple and Google have no issues collaborating with Amazon to work on an open-source smart home platform, which is expected to launch next year. But that initiative doesn’t require Apple and Google to potentially let additional assistants like Alexa onto their smartphones. (Amazon hasn’t had a lot of luck with phones in the past, either).
The e-commerce giant also announced today that it had released new guidelines to help manufacturers create new devices that support more than one voice assistant.