It's Friday again, which means that it’s time for our voice-first and related news weekly roundup.

February 16-22, 2019

Amazon and Google: Increase in Smart Speaker Sales

2/19/19 According to the research firm Strategy Analytics Amazon increased its lead in global smart speaker sales in Q4 2018. Their  latest research shows that year over year Q4 shipments grew 95% to 38.5 million units. This was more than the total for 2017 and brought the 2018 tally to 86.2 million units. The Amazon Echo product line accounted for 35.6% of total global smart speaker. Google Home devices were second in the category in both quarters and rose from just 23% to 29.9% between the third and fourth quarters. Meanwhile, Apple HomePod sales fell from 4.9% to 4.2% of sales unit volume.

Also see: 2/20/19 Amazon Increases Global Smart Speaker Sales Share in Q4 2018, While Google’s Rise Narrows the Gap and Apple Declines (


2/16/19 Apple continues to work its way into the smart speaker market. On Saturday, CNBC broke the news that that  Apple had hired ex-Microsoft exec Sam Jadallah to revamp its smart home business, and catch up to Google and Amazon


2/18/19 Facebook has joined forces with Intel as it races Amazon and Google to develop its own artificial intelligence chips for smart digital assistant an real-time video moderation. In an interview with the Financial Times Yann LeCun, Facebook’s chief AI scientist stated, “In terms of new uses, one thing Facebook would be interested in is offering smart digital assistants — something that has a level of common sense” (Financial Times)

2/19/19 Facebook’s Chief AI Scientist Says the Service Would Like to Offer Smart Digital Assistants. Here’s Why. (

Samsung: Bixby and Galaxy Home

2/20/19 Earlier this week Samsung’s Unpacked 2019 unveiled Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Series latest model the S10, an assortment of wearables including the wireless Galaxy Buds, and announced Bixby’s support of U.K. English, German, Italian, and Spanish (Spain) doubling the number of supported languages.  After the event DJ Koh, the head of Samsung's mobile business, made the comments to CNET that Samsung's long-awaited Galaxy Home speaker will launch by April.


2/18/19 Make sure to check out, How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live on Wired. Adapted from James Vlaho’s forthcoming book Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think, it is a fascinating read on the evolution of voice-first tech and the conventional web as we know it.