How tech companies compete to control our lives digitally

For the most part, customers don’t want to give up a system they’ve used for some time, whether it’s Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.


When a new system is launched, there is an opportunity to acquire customers for years to come, so there may be some confusion.


For “voice-based” technologies, which are widely expected to gain increasing importance in the coming period, confusion persists.


Clearly, companies are focusing their efforts on creating a technology that fits into a distinctive area: the face.


“So far, the most acceptable place to put tech devices is the wrist, and that reflects the success of Apple Watch,” says Ben Wood, of CCS Insight. “But as Amazon and a number of other influential companies begin to take a serious interest in earphones and smart glasses, there has been growing evidence that the ‘face battle’ has begun,” he adds.


The field of listening


Let’s start with the ears

Apple has early become an industry leader, seizing the success of iPhones. AirPods earphones introduced by the company in 2016 now accounted for 53 percent of total sales of 27 million “headphones” around the world from April to June this year, according to data from Conterpoint Research.


“Apple will continue to lead the market for now thanks to its loyal user base and its hardware and software-related system,” said Liz Lee, a senior analyst at the organization.


She added: “Apple will also introduce new earbuds with major design adjustments in late 2020. We expect Apple’s market share to reach about 40 percent or 50 percent this year, with its share falling slightly next year, but it will nonetheless remain the most influential company.”


Although AirPods is just a wireless version of the earbuds sold by Apple a decade ago, the company treats them from a strategic perspective, seeing them as the best chance of getting consumers to interact with devices that use audio technologies.


But it doesn’t work to address Apple’s main problem right now, which is that once users return home, if they have a smart speaker, they’re more likely to talk to Amazon or Google’s digital “assistant.”


Amazon’s problem is different, as the success of its digital assistant Alexa has led the smart speaker market in our homes, according to research by Kanales, but the results of the company’s disastrous attempt to break into the smartphone market mean Alexa’s assistant will still be confined inside homes.


Amazon has taken important steps that it hopes will make a difference, especially as it announces the introduction of the Eco Buds, wireless earbuds integrated with the Alexa assistant.


This is a straightforward way to take advantage of Alexa’s digital assistant outside homes, especially as the device is cheaper compared to AirPods and equipped with noise blocking, a feature not available in AirPods.


“It looks like using Alexa will be more appealing to some people than using Siri, as Alexa can be used to order goods directly from Amazon, and Amazon is more open than Apple,” she tells me.


“Amazon could resort to strong cuts during Black Friday sales to increase market share,” she added.


More earphone production influential companies will soon appear on the scene, as Microsoft is expected to announce smart wireless earbuds next week.


Google, along with its own assistant and a suite of audio-enabled software (such as machine translation), could also roll out another device that improves its 2017 Pixel Pad product.


On October 11, the company will hold its new product launch announcement conference.


Field of vision

Amazon is also hoping to change its destination, if not too quickly, with its introduction of smart glasses product Eco Frames, glasses that support the Alexa digital assistant, which can be integrated into contact with the smartphone, shaking when receiving any notification, and allowing voice commands to be given to Alexa via two microphones, such as EcoPods.


The move is described as modest on track to achieve the real goal of rolling out smart glasses with augmented reality (AR).


While Amazon was talking about the advantages of its product Eco Frames at its headquarters in Seattle, Facebook was busy sharing its own aspirations for the development of augmented reality at the Oculas Connect conference for technology developers in San Jose.


Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s head of virtual and augmented reality, said the company is developing augmented reality glasses.


An explanatory video showed how digital sub-windows can appear while you’re seeing, alerting you to the timing of a movie or correct direction. This product is not imminent, as Facebook has a lot of work to do to make this technology a reality indeed.


The company currently lacks its own full-featured voice assistant.


Apple is reportedly ready to release a wearable augmented reality device as well.


Taiwanese analyst Ming-chi Kuo expects Apple’s augmented reality device to be ready in the middle of next year.

Skinky look”

These devices face an obstacle to overcome: ensuring good performance efficiency, and design and trust issues stand out.


Do you remember Google Glass, which the company introduced in 2013? In addition to the technological shortcomings suffered by the product, it made the wearer look strange.


Augmented reality glasses need to use outbound cameras to monitor objects around them, and tech companies are likely to consider recording video and making connections as a point of excellence in their devices.


Similarly, earbuds will be able to capture as much of the surrounding sound.


It may appeal to those who wear it, but what about surrounding people who may not want to pick up and analyze anything related to them by companies that have already lost our trust?


This is what makes the new technical race different, anyone who buys these devices will spend time thinking not only about the name of the producing company that has the best technology, but also about the best hidden intentions of producing this device.

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