Which voice in your fridge? Makers pick virtual assistants

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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Who would you rather have in your fridge? Alexa, Cortana, or some as-yet unknown virtual assistant?

Manufacturers of appliances and other products are considering factors such as ease of use and language support as they pick voice technology from what they view as a wide open battle between Alphabet Inc’s Google, Amazon.com Inc and others.

Consumer demand is surging for the ability to summon music, order food and control lights by voice commands. Amazon.com’s Alexa voice assistant is the early leader and could spur up to $12 billion in Amazon sales in 2020, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co analysts projected this week.

Amazon and Google combined have sold more than 30 million home speakers with virtual assistants, according to analyst estimates, and the firms are working with hardware partners to get the same software into more devices.

Hardware makers’ varying strategies and decisions, described in interviews with Reuters at this week’s consumer…



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