All the Smart Speakers!

One: Google Beefs Up Home Lineup With Home Max, Mini

"Google today launched Mini and Max versions of Google Home.

"The fabric-covered, voice-powered Google Home Mini is $49 and available for pre-order today; it arrives on Oct. 19 in the Google Store and at other retailers. Get it in three colors: coral, chalk, or charcoal..."

Chloe Albanesius, PC Mag

 

Two: Why is Google Making Phones, Anyway?

"Google-branded phones own about 1% share of the smartphone market, have limited carrier distribution, and won’t make real money for several years. Amazon and Microsoft both tried, and failed, on phones. Even Google’s initial phone foray, with Motorola, was a bomb. As my Techpinions colleague Jan Dawson pointed out in his excellent piece yesterday, Google doesn’t even seem all that serious about selling phones..."

Mark Lowenstein, Tech.pinions

 

Three: Google is Clearly Serious About Hardware, But Not About Selling Phones

"Google’s announcement of its second generation of first-party hardware made clear something that’s been increasingly apparent over the past year: the company is very serious about this business. However, it also reinforced what continues to be a strange paradox: Google doesn’t actually seem to be very serious about selling at least some of that hardware, namely phones..."

Jan Dawson, Tech.pinions

 

Four: Amazon’s confusing new Echo lineup: There’s a method to the madness

"Amazon's overstuffed Echo event yesterday made one thing clear: it's not afraid of doubling down on smart speakers and its virtual assistant Alexa. The company announced a smaller $100 Echo (just as we reported in July); a $150 Echo Plus with smart hub features; and an Echo-powered alarm clock called "Spot". And that's not even including the truly strange stuff: Echo Connect, which turns your Echo devices into speakerphones for landlines; and a tiny Bluetooth button for games. Amazon's also bundling an Echo Dot with the new Alexa-powered Fire TV dongle for just $80, as well as with the Fire TV stick for $60. Whew."

Devindra Hardawar, Engadget

 

Five: New Sonos One speaker with Alexa announced for $199

"Sonos has a message for the Amazon Echos, Google Homes, and Apple HomePods of the world: not so fast. In an attempt to fend off the growing competition from companies trying to invade (and make smarter) its specialty of multi-room audio, today Sonos revealed an updated speaker, the Sonos One, with far-field microphones that allow it to work with digital assistants — beginning with Amazon’s Alexa. The new Sonos One costs $199 and launches October 24th. Preorders begin today."

Chris Welch, The Verge

 

Bonus: Papyrus

 

Photo from the Sonos Press Kit.