Which AI assistant is right for you?

Amazon Echo
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

6 April 2017

With the integration of Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant into our everyday smartphone use, some may think it's only a matter of time before AI helpers are running our lives.

Smart home assistants from the world's tech giants are taking to the markets hot on the heels of the Amazon Echo, first launched in 2015. With the UK release of Google's landing today, 6 April, Eleanor O'Neill takes a look at the products set to cement this industry in the mainstream.

Amazon Echo

The smart speaker conduit for Amazon's AI assistant Alexa, Amazon Echo has been around since 2015 in the US and launched in the UK and Germany last year.

Alexa links up the smart devices in your home and incorporates voice recognition throughout the space, so that all you have to do is say "Alexa..." and issue a command to play your favourite music, adjust the room temperature, turn off smart lights or even check the weather outside.

With the advantages of a sleek design most would be happy to have in their home and the novelty of being the first to the game, Alexa is estimated to have sold over 11 million units so far.

And, apparently, 250,000 people have asked for her hand in marriage.

Google Home

Using Google Assistant through an integrated speaker system, Google Home performs many of the same duties as the Echo with a conversational AI and customisable look.

The new device has one clear advantage over the Amazon Echo: much of your online life probably already runs through Google or one of its subsidiaries. As a result, Google Home can theoretically link up far more effectively with your email and media, without needing to collaborate with a third party application.

However, there have been a few reports of teething problems in this respect and the device, similarly to Amazon Echo, needs a constant connection with your wifi to function properly. 

Unlike its competitor, however, Google Home can work with other devices enabled for Chromecast to project audio through multiple rooms.

Lenovo Smart Assistant

Luxury speaker maker Lenovo has also recently entered the game with a high-quality smart soundsystem.

The Lenovo Smart Assistant also runs Alexa as its AI interface, but includes an upgraded speaker with the potential for better voice recognition and comprehension.

However, as Lenovo are using essentially the same technology and app as Amazon's own product, software upgrades may prove to be a bit of an issue. Amazon will no doubt prioritise the Echo, and Smart Assistant could eventually become sluggish in comparison.

The Lenovo Smart Assistant will become available in China and North America in May.


A namesake of Iron Man's AI co-pilot, Jarvis is the pet project of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg.

The technology mogul claims to have integrated a digital butler into every part of his home, and even programmed it to make his toast in the mornings.

While a version of this creation may not become commercially available anytime soon, it certainly offers a glimpse of the direction our smart devices are headed.

Image credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock.com


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