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Alexa? Echo? Google Home? These devices likely won't stay put on our night tables and bookshelves for long.

The era of smart assistants is here, and the race for dominance is on: By mid-December, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners was able to report that Amazon's Echo was leading the pack, with 20 million units shipped, selling more than three times its nearest competitor, Google Home.

Even Apple had entered the fray with its HomePod, a product that includes a Samsung smart speaker utilizing Bixby -- a smart helper mobile app -- that further diversifies the marketplace.

Authors: Q Manning

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