Our homes are shaping up as the next high-tech battleground as the three online superpowers engage in retaliatory strikes against one another’s smart products.
A smart home is more than a house full of smart gadgets, it’s a tight-knit ecosystem where all those gadgets work in unison to hopefully make your life a little easier. Amazon, Apple and Google are all pitching their smart speakers as the central hub to rule over your smart home, but unfortunately interoperability is the first causality in their battle for domination.
Hostilities have broken out in the lounge room, with Google withdrawing YouTube from Amazon’s Fire TV players and Echo speakers. Amazon’s attempts to sidestep the ban have also been blocked.
Meanwhile Amazon refuses to support Amazon Prime Video on Google’s Chromecast streaming media player or Android TV. The long-promised Prime Video app for the Apple TV has finally appeared this week, but Amazon still refuses to sell Google and Apple’s media players, even though the online retail giant handles most of their other hardware.
This battle is about to reach Australia as Amazon starts selling its Fire TV Basic, with the other Fire TV models seemingly on hold until Amazon’s talkative Alexa smart assistant comes to our shores early next year.
The schism between the three major smart home ecosystems is spreading beyond the lounge room, with some models of the Google-owned Nest smart smoke alarms and security cameras disappearing from Amazon’s online stores.
For now Alexa is still on speaking terms with Nest gear, but it’s difficult to say what could happen under the next round of sanctions.
The escalating war comes as all three tech giants ramp up their international expansion plans, with Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod delayed until next year – coming to rival the Google Home and Amazon Echo range.
You won’t find the Google Home for sale on Amazon, so don’t expect to see the Apple HomePod either. Not unless two of the tech giants decide the bury the hatchet to fight the third, assuming they can agree on a common enemy.
The biggest losers in this war are end users. As shifting allegiances threaten to turn the smart home into a fragmented mess, which side will you take?