Wi-Fi speakers have to get smart to get ahead in their class. Analysts forecast a continuing surge in sales of smart Wi-Fi speakers, which incorporate voice-controlled digital assistants, but they see nothing but declining sales of slowing sales of Wi-Fi speakers that lack digital assistants.
As a result, CE suppliers are expanding the selection of smart speakers to tap the sales energy generated by their Amazon and Google branded counterparts. New smart speakers introduced at CES include the first models from Cleer, Altec Lansing, Riva Audio, and LG. In addition, one company is launching one of the first wireless-multiroom sound bars with a built-in assistant (Alexa). And First Alert is unveiling what could be the first smoke/CO detecter with built-in smart speaker. Meantime, JBL and Harman/ Kardon are expanding their smart selections. The latest introductions follow a fourth-quarter wave of CE-brand smart-speaker shipments from at least 16 CE brands.