When Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) launched its first smart speaker, the Echo, back in late 2014, its smart voice assistant platform was confined solely to its own devices.
Since then, a lot has changed. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a slew of non-Amazon devices begin to offer Alexa integration, including 3rd party speakers, laptops, smart TVs, and much more. At the annual CES conference this week, we even saw a Whirlpool dishwasher with Alexa support, and a bathroom mirror made by Kohler.
As Forbes notes, Amazon’s strategy to win the smart home wars is really taking shape:
Industry watchers are struggling to keep up with all the different devices that Amazon has partnered with on Alexa, but it’s clear the company has been busy making friends with manufacturers over the past year.
“From the meetings I’ve had with different vendors, Amazon has done an incredibly successful job of repositioning Alexa as a platform,” says Mark Vena, a senior analyst at Moor Insight Strategy from the sidelines of CES. “The number of devices that Alexa is showing up on is staggering.”
In summary, Amazon is looking at Alexa not just as a virtual assistant for speakers, but as a robust smart home platform. Instead of being reliant solely on Echo speakers, Amazon wants as many outside devices to have built-in microphones to access Alexa as possible.
The only possible competitor to Alexa at this point is Google Home, but Alexa has a huge lead: over 4,000 devices can currently be controlled by Alexa, the company said, while Google’s total is around 1,500.
Amazon.com, Inc. shares rose $3.53 (+0.28%) in premarket trading Friday. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 9.17%, versus a 3.47% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.