A new device is demonstrating the perils of Amazon’s strategy of opening its Alexa AI platform to third party developers. Called the Eufy Genie, it’s a small, 2W speaker for the smart home.
The device is clearly aimed at the Amazon Echo Dot in terms of market competition. Like that device, it can function on its own or be plugged into better speakers, and its Alexa AI system can respond to all kinds of voice commands, from playing music to setting timers and so on; but the device is only $35 USD, compared to the Echo Dot’s $50 price point.
In other words, Amazon’s decision to open up its Alexa platform to third party developers has led to the creation of a product that directly competes with one of its own, using Amazon’s own technology, but at a lower price point. And the device’s maker, China-based Anker, says it has a whole range of smart home devices in the pipeline that will be designed to connect to the Genie, essentially bringing the Alexa interface to a new device ecosystem.
Of course, it’s not like Amazon didn’t anticipate this would happen. Rather, the company has made a bet that as consumer technology evolves, voice will be an increasingly important user interface. And the more products through which Alexa is trained and refined via real world use, the stronger Amazon’s market position as Alexa’s chief proprietor.