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Uh-oh, Siri: Smart Speaker Users Value Price Above All Else But Sound Quality Comes In Second

15 June 2017, 7:12 am EDT By Vincent Lanaria Tech Times
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Aside from facing a tough competition, Apple's HomePod may find it difficult to invade the homes of smart speaker shoppers.

According to a recent survey, users value price more than the brand, device compatibility, and voice recognition accuracy, among other things. However, one angle the Siri-powered chatterbox might gain the edge in is sound quality, which buyers consider as the second most important feature.

Consumers: Price Most Significant Smart Speaker Factor

Morning Consult conducted a poll that revealed what people look for when in the market for smart speakers, asking 2,200 adults between June 8 and 12.

The company categorized the survey by price, audio quality, accuracy of voice recognition, compatibility with owned devices, access to music streaming services, integration with other services, brand, and appearance of the device itself.

To get a better look at things, here's a rundown of its findings:

Price: 57 percent

Speaker/audio quality: 51 percent

Accuracy of device's voice recognition: 49 percent

Compatibility with devices you may already own, such as your smartphone: 44 percent

Access to a variety or music streaming services: 30 percent

Ability for device to integrate with other services or platforms, such as controlling smart light bulbs: 29 percent

Brand that manufactures the device: 29 percent

Aesthetics or look of the device: 21 percent

Note: Morning Consult also uploaded the complete breakdown of the poll results (PDF).

HomePod: Can It Take On The Competition?

As a refresher, the HomePod is expected to roll out with a $350 price tag sometime this December. Compared with the $179.99 Amazon Echo and $129 Google Home, Apple's first splash into the smart speaker is not looking so good, considering the poll results.

However, the Cupertino brand appears to be banking on audio rather than smart features, aiming to "reinvent home music" the way the iPod did for portable music. That means the HomePod has a promising chance to claim a prominent spot in the industry with sound quality — as a reminder, that's the second most important factor.

Also, it's worth noting that Morning Consult says Siri is the most popular assistant among the "key demographics of millennials and Gen X, who tended to use it for mundane tasks such as answering texts," according to a poll in March.

Interestingly enough, Samsung is also planning on entering the smart speaker space with a Bixby-powered device, which should heat up the competition more — that is, if the AI assistant manages to learn the English language on time.

At any rate, it appears that the Echo is leading pack among the current brood.

(Photo : Morning Consult)

The Bottom Line

To boil things down, price is indeed king when it comes to smart speakers, and the HomePod doesn't really win in that department. But it does have Siri, who's popular with certain audiences, and the right components and features to provide high-quality audio, giving it a good chance to stay the pace or come out on top of the competition.

It could be argued that this merely indicates that users aren't exactly willing to shell out astronomical prices for voice-controlled speakers just yet, though, and since the Echo has the advantage of more or less pioneering and paving the way of smart speakers, the results shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

With all said and done, what do you think of Apple's first foray into the smart speaker race? Feel free to hit us up in the comments section below and let us know, especially if you're planning on buying one when the holiday arrives.

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