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Qualcomm voice SoC could extend smart speakers beyond the big four

Voice-activated digital assistants have been at the forefront of the battle for the consumer web experience, between Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. But is it possible that a broader ecosystem of these devices will emerge, as it did in handsets? Qualcomm may be taking a step to enable that, with a system-on-chip targeted at voice-controlled devices, and having the potential to usher new vendors into the space. The existing offerings are designed to work within the individual vendors’ garden walls. Apple, predictably, keeps Siri for its iPhones and new HomeHub. The AI-enabled software from its rivals – Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa – can be deployed on other companies’ hardware (Amazon recently got Alexa onto Huawei smartphones for…

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