Attention please to Wen Xiong's inking
From hardware to software, disputes between major technology companies have never stopped.
In the ongoing MWC2019, Google announced a partnership with LG, Nokia, millet, vivo and TCL to add Google Assistant exclusive keys to a number of mobile phones launched in 2019.
The establishment of this strategic alliance formally opened the prelude of the virtual assistant war.
In fact, smartphones are just one of many scenarios where virtual assistants can land. In the long run, there is still a broader space for virtual assistants to explore. The ultimate intentions of mobile phone manufacturers and Google may also be here. However, the complex and changeable factors of reality doomed this trip will not be smooth sailing, so there is a mobile phone manufacturer set up, Google singing.
Win-win after Alliance
I don't know when virtual assistants have become the soul of smartphones.
In addition, when there are fewer cell phone openings and physical keys, some manufacturers have also equipped a virtual assistant with a physical key, which is enough to prove that manufacturers attach importance to virtual assistants. For example, Mimi's current flagship MIX 3 is equipped with a little love classmate key, and Samsung's Bixby key, which has been added since the S8 series, has remained so far.
Google Assistant's first appearance was at the 2016 Google I/O Conference, which became the standard and feature of Google Pixel mobile phones. Although virtual assistants such as Siri were born a few years later, the performance of Google Assistant was the highest in the face-to-face confrontations.
Stone Temple did a special study in 2018, comparing the capabilities of virtual assistants on the market with more than 5,000 different query questions. In the end, Google Assistant won, answering more than 90% of the questions and guaranteeing 80% accuracy. Siri can only answer 80% of the questions, and the accuracy is about 40%.
For mobile phone manufacturers, carrying Google Assistant is a shortcut to enhance their competitiveness. It is reported that LG G8 ThinQ, V50 ThinQ, Nokia 4.2, 3.2, millet 9 and MIX 35G versions are all in the cooperative model.
From the standpoint of Google, the most direct benefit of alliance with mobile phone manufacturers is the expansion of user groups. Google expects that more than 100 million phones will be equipped with Google Assistant keys when the alliance is completed, a figure N times higher than the total sales of Google Pixel phones in the past two years. According to IDC statistics, Google Pixel handsets shipped about 4.68 million in 2018 and 3.45 million in 2017.
In addition, the depth of the smartphone market will accelerate the extension of Google Assistant to other scenarios, that is, the IoT ecosystem. For mobile phone manufacturers and Google, this is a win-win situation.
There are still many challenges ahead.
Google Assistant is one of the core services Android Things provides for developers. In other words, Google Assistant is a key piece in Google's layout in the field of IoT.
At the Google I/O conference in 2018, Pichai said that Google Assistant had landed 500 million devices. It spans the mobile phone, automobile, home and other industries. It also claims to support more than 30 languages in 80 countries and regions by the end of 2018, covering more than 95% of Android users worldwide.
It took eight months to double that, which is worthy of affirmation. But we can't ignore that there are still many challenges ahead for Google.
While Google is advancing, its competitors are keeping pace. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Baidu are all Google's strong rivals. Although in the total number of devices logged in, Google has thrown away other competitors. But in some important subdivisions, the results are different.
Intelligent speaker is an important landing product of virtual assistant, and it is also recognized as the first entrance of future smart home in the industry. According to a report released by Strategy Analytics, Amazon Echo ranked first in the industry with 13.7 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018, followed by Google Home speakers with 11.5 million units shipped.
Does that put pressure on Google? Google's actions have betrayed itself.
According to foreign media reports, Google plans to release its first cheap smartphone in 2019 to attract more users to use the Google ecosystem. It's the same way as the alliance smartphone approach in the beginning, because Google is aiming not only at the smartphone market, but also at other smartphone hardware, i.e. IoT.
In addition, Google has a lot of headaches. For example, when can we really enter China? For reasons that are well known, all the advantages and anxieties of Google mentioned above have little to do with us. Even when Google announced Pixel 3 mobile phones in Taiwan in 2018, it explicitly mentioned that Google Assistant already supports Chinese voice interaction, mainland users are still far away from Google Assistant.
Industry insiders pointed out that this time with mobile phone manufacturers, the situation may change a little. Cooperative list of millet and TCL, for Google Assistant to enter the domestic market has some help. However, considering the requirements of virtual assistants for network connection, Google Assistant is only a curve entry at most.
On the other hand, in overseas markets, Google Assistant can help domestic manufacturers go to sea, but the effect is very limited. Millet and Lenovo have cooperated with Google Assistant before. In 2018, Millet announced that its smart home products could cooperate with Google Assistant. Lenovo launched a smart alarm clock with Google Assistant built-in at this year's CES exhibition, but neither of them caused a big wave.
In view of this, the cooperation between Google and mobile phone manufacturers is based on a win-win basis, but this basis is still in the vision stage, how much effort it will take to bring it into reality, we do not know yet, but obviously it is not easy.