- Google, the search giant that developed the Android mobile operating system, will grow its lead in the market for smartphones that have virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Strategy Analytics estimated in a study. Android's market share will expand from 46% of global smartphone sales with virtual assistants this year to more than 60% by 2022, the study said.
- Apple, whose Siri was the first mobile virtual assistant when it was introduced in 2011, will steadily lose its share from about 41% this year to 17% in 2022, as Chinese search giant Baidu expands its slice of the global market 10 percentage points during the period. Samsung is forecast to lose market share from 13% to 5.4% in 2022.
- Over 93% of smartphones priced at $300 or more around the world include a virtual assistant, but the overall virtual assistant market will grow as AI tech develops and becomes more accessible to lower-cost smartphones. By 2020, more than 80% of smartphones priced at $100 or more will have an on-board assistant, mainly driven by Google Assistant, according to the report.
For marketers, the greater presence of Google Assistant — and its competitors like Amazon Alexa — on more devices will open up new channels to reach consumers directly during their day-to-day routines. These AI can learn different abilities — Amazon calls Alexa's "skills" — that promote brand products and content that can be delivered by a simple voice command. A key driver in the growth of AI-powered virtual assistants will be the stronger processing power of smartphones, which will speed up the response quality and speed to voice commands, according to Strategy Analytics. Most of the data processing for AI assistants occurs in the cloud, which can be frustrating for smartphone users with limited connectivity.
Mobile AI technology will continue to evolve and get smarter, especially as brands like Google are building out their digital capabilities and exploring how to provide value to on-the-go consumers. These companies are also introducing more mobile-connected devices beyond the smartphone like home assistants and smart speakers that can link together, with AI assistants as a connective tissue across the hardware ecosystem.
Google and Apple are the current market leaders in smartphone virtual assistants, and it will be interesting to see if that dominance extends into other products like cars and smart speakers. Amazon is the smart speaker market leader with Echo devices running Alexa, while Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung either have similar products already on the market or are planning to introduce them.
Google earlier this month debuted its second-generation of hardware products including the Google Home Max, a larger version of its smart speaker designed to compete against Apple's HomePod, Sonos speakers and Amazon's Echo. Google also said voice commands for music streaming service Spotify will be fully supported on Google Assistant within the coming weeks as it looks to expand its AI to more services and devices, The Verge reported.