Google Home Max: Why Google's Smart Speaker Failed

Google Home Max: Why Google’s Smart Speaker Failed

Google Home Max smart speaker was seen as the best-sounding device of its kind when it launched earlier this year, but less than six months later, Google has discontinued the device entirely. Why would Google do this? What does this mean for the company’s future in the connected home space? Here’s what you need to know about Google Home Max and how it failed.

History of smart speaker sales

The Google Home Max was Google’s latest effort to take on Apple in the smart speaker market. Apple released its first smart speaker, the HomePod, in early 2018. Google had been releasing versions of the Home since late 2016 but, following strong sales of the HomePod and Amazon’s Alexa, needed to act fast if they wanted to maintain a share of this lucrative industry.

To make up for lost time, Google launched an updated version of its second-generation Home with far better features and sound quality in September 2017.

However, after just three months of sale, Google announced that it would no longer produce more units of its smart speaker. The move was viewed as an embarrassing failure to compete with existing smart speakers and their growing popularity in mainstream homes across America. Sales figures show that although Amazon dominates at around 70% of sales in both markets,

Apple has a steady 10% share of sales and rising while less than 1% went to Google Home products. This means that over 90 million homes in America are already sold on owning a smart speaker or will be soon with Alexa devices selling out faster than they could be restocked.

The main reason for discontinuing…?

A look at current smart speaker competitors

So now, as it stands, there are a lot of similar products on the market that are worth considering. The original Google Home Max had a lot of promise but ended up being too expensive for what it did and failed to deliver. There are plenty of other smart speakers that do just about everything the Google Home Max was designed for, without charging the same hefty price tag.

Even though it was fairly expensive for its capabilities, most customers agreed that Amazon’s Echo Dot was a far superior option. It may not have premium sound quality, but as a smart speaker, it has access to more skills than any other device on today’s market and can usually be found at around half of what you’d spend on a single Google Home Mini.

For just $49, you get access to Alexa and all her skills – something that will certainly come in handy if you decide to buy multiple devices. Or how about one of these options? You can choose between three different Sonos speakers – two wireless with an optional subwoofer and one wired with an optional subwoofer – which are some of the best-sounding smart speakers out there.

Lack of proper market research

In the tech world, Google is known for launching products that later became mainstream. A few of Google’s past successes include Gmail, Chrome, and Android – all of which were at one point considered niche products. However, while they may have made their mark on the tech world early on, not all of them have been as successful in recent years.

One such product is Google Home Max – a smart speaker released in 2017 to rival popular devices like Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod. Though it seemed like a success early on and generated $300 million in revenue within its first 18 months, it seems the Home Max had a short shelf life with Google announcing this week that they will stop selling the product by year-end.

Lack of proper production plan

In an attempt to jump into the mainstream smart speaker market, Google neglected several factors: they failed to perfect their production plan and ran out of units, so not enough Home Max speakers could be made available for consumers; they did not anticipate ongoing product updates or competitors in the market like Sonos, who have been around for much longer than Google.

Lack of ecosystem support

Google Home Max was another voice-controlled smart speaker like Google Home. However, the two were quite different in one very important way: price. Google Home Max was priced at $399 which is double the price of the first-generation Google Home but only had a little bit more functionality.

This is still only marginally cheaper than an Amazon Echo Show but you get a significant upgrade for that price difference, making it significantly less appealing when compared to Amazon’s $100 to $200 range (which already has significant incentives).

Google also decided not to manufacture its hardware like Apple and Amazon.

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