I love when articles say that so-and-so company is has come out with an Echo or Google Home competitor but when the product that the company is releasing uses Alexa or Google Assistant. This is the case for the announcements around Panasonic and Sony. The reality is that these just bolster the assistants, not compete with them.
These announcements came out of IFA. Last year, I wrote about voice products being release there. At that time, Sony was showcasing the Xperia Assistant and there were a few early concepts of AVS devices. Sony seems to have abandoned its Assistant and the many early push-to-talk AVS devices never made it to market.
What Sony gives Google is a win over Amazon with a major speaker brand adopting their backend. I think Amazon might have its own ace at IFA (or in the fall).
It’ll be interesting to see how voice has changed since last year’s event.