Amazon Echo
Amazon is preparing to launch new smart speakers in the second half of 2018. Reuters/Peter Hobson

The smart speaker market competition is about to get more intense in the second half of 2018 when manufacturers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft launch their new products.

Digitimes reported Wednesday that a lot of new-generation smart speakers are coming this second half. Global giants Amazon, Microsoft and Google, as well as Alibaba and Tencent, are said to be gearing up for the launch of their new smart speakers and smart home devices.

Industry sources said the new smart devices that the aforesaid companies are planning to launch will have enhanced voice-interface functions. The sources added that the manufacturers are strategically releasing their new devices this second half to take advantage of the traditional boom season for electronics products.

Apple is unlikely to introduce a new smart speaker this time around since its first-generation HomePod was launched in February following an announced delay. Moreover, sources said the sales of the HomePod did not meet expectations. Hence, it would take some time before the Cupertino giant could unveil a second-generation HomePod.

Since many manufacturers are planning to launch new smart devices in the remaining months of 2018, IC designers are expected to enjoy booming orders from clients. The demand for chipsets will skyrocket since global shipments of smart speakers and smart home devices are predicted to double compared to last year.

In 2017, MediaTek was the biggest winner in the smart speaker chip market. The Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company’s reign is expected to extend this year since Amazon, Google and Alibaba are among its clients. It’s also important to note that Tencent and Apple are interested in establishing partnerships with MediaTek.

IBTimes learned earlier this week that Apple is still contemplating on a possible deal with MediaTek, so the latter would provide modem chips for the Cupertino giant’s new iPhones. Apple also wants to partner with MediaTek in order for it to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm amid its legal dispute with the San Diego, California-based semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company.

MediaTek’s next-generation smart speaker chip is said to have more powerful computing performance, more stable network connectivity and lower power consumption compared to its predecessor. Therefore, the upcoming smart devices from MediaTek’s clients will boast the same improvements.