Speaker makers are lining up behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa at the IFA conference in Berlin, with companies announcing a slew of new voice-controlled speakers. Here’s a rundown:
- Bose’s Home Speaker 500 ($400), Soundbar 500 ($550), and Soundbar 700 ($800) will all have Alexa built-in. The company eventually plans to add other voice assistants and Apple’s AirPlay 2, which allows for Siri controls from separate iOS devices or HomePods.
- Marshall is getting into smart speakers with the $300 Acton II and $400 Stanmore II, both of which support Alexa voice controls and take design cues from the company’s iconic guitar amps. Google Assistant support is coming later this year.
- Soundcore by Anker is making an Alexa version of its Flare water-resistant Bluetooth speaker. There’s no word on price yet.
- Libratone is creating an Alexa-enabled sequel to its stylish Zipp and Zipp Mini speakers, which support both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and also work with AirPlay 2. The Zipp 2 and Mini 2 will be available for £279 and £229, respectively.
- Riva plans to sell a $200 Alexa speaker with an optional battery pack and a larger $450 speaker.
- On the Google Assistant side, Sony is launching a rugged, voice-controlled Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker with up to 16 hours of battery life for $300.
- Despite being owned by Samsung (which has its own voice assistant ambitions), Harmon Kardon is throwing support behind Google Assistant with the $600 Citation 500 speaker.
- Bang & Olufsen is going the ultra-premium route with a pair of metallic, cylindrical Google Assistant speakers. The BeoSound 1 is a $1750 portable Google Assistant speaker whose docking station costs an extra $175, while the non-portable Beosound 2 costs 2,250. Both will also support AirPlay 2.
As a whole, the announcements show how voice control is becoming increasingly common, even in speakers not made by Amazon and Google. Apple isn’t exactly being left out–you can still use Siri on a separate device to control speakers that have AirPlay 2 support–but it’s a second-class citizen on the growing number of speakers with other voice assistants built-in.