Facebook sets to join Amazon, Google, Apple, may launch smart speakers soon

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After Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple’s Homepod and Alibaba’s Tmall Genie X1, Facebook is ready to make debut in smart speaker segment.

The company is planning to launch two smart devices — a video chat product with a screen that appears similar to Amazon’s Echo Show called Portal and a smaller device with just a speaker (similar to Amazon Echo).

Facebook which was set to unveil its smart speakers at F8 developer conference has postponed the plan for the next right time.

The company fears it may be the wrong time to ask people to trust the company with even more personal information by placing always-listening microphones in their homes.

The social networking giant, which has been rumored to be working on a smart speaker since last August, will launch the product internationally except in the U.S. The recent debate on data privacy and its manipulation in the U.S. elections may have been the cause of skipping the U.S launch.

It is a high time for one of the world’s biggest tech companies to delay the launch in the smart speaker segment when other giants have already begun competing in the space.

Besides, these companies also see a huge potential in the Indian market. For instance, Amazon has given local makeover to the Alexa virtual assistant that powers the speakers. This Alexa uses a blend of Hindi and English and speaks with an unmistakably Indian accent.

Alphabet Inc. has also introduced a Hinglish-speaking Google Assistant that powers its instant messaging app Allo. Apple began advertising last year to hire native Hindi/Indian English speakers to help evolve and enrich Siri by crafting culturally appropriate dialogue for India.

The global smart speakers market is likely to double to over 50 million units in 2018.

In the fourth quarter in FY 17, shipment of intelligent home speakers touched 4.2 million (almost 600% surge), where Amazon had 88 percent share and Google managed 10 percent.

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