Six years ago, Amazon essentially created a new consumer electronics category. Expectations weren’t particularly high when the first Echo device debuted in November of 2014. Amazon, after all, has never shied away from throwing a new device against the wall to see what sticks — if anything, that’s become a defining characteristic of the last half-dozen years of Alexa devices.

The Echo stuck. In 2019, 146.9 million smart speakers were shipped globally, according to figures from Strategy Analytics. That figure marked a 70% increase over the year prior. Of that figure, Amazon owned a 26.2% market share.

That’s a success story by any measure. Of course, any competition present is also a knock-on effect of Amazon’s success. Google’s original Home speaker was released two years

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