Looking back at the release this week of a slew of new Alexa-enabled devices from Amazon, it occurred to me what Amazon is trying to avoid — a three way race between itself, Google, and Apple. By tying more services and form factors into Alexa, Amazon gets away from Echo being a voice device and turns Alexa into more of a platform.
While the Google Home will likely be joined by at least one new device from Google next week (some calling it MAX), and maybe more Google Assistant-enabled devices over the next few months, it’s probably not likely to differ much in form factor. As well, for shopping, the link between Walmart and Google seems tenuous. It could be replaced by Google Express and other stores at any point.
Apple HomePod will likely remain as a voice-operated speaker for at least a year. This is not the position that Amazon wants to put itself in. Breaking the Echo mould is one way it gets out of the standoff.