The Amazon Echo and Google Home line of smart speakers seem to have been popular choices for gifts this Christmas, at least in the US, as indicated by the sudden boost in ranking their companion apps received on both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

As of this writing, the Amazon Alexa app ranks in at first place among the top free apps on both the US App Store and Play Store while the Google Home companion app also sits quite high on the charts, taking seventh place on Apple’s App Store and second on its home turf.

Smart home products have, by and large, been both advertised and perceived as having a niche market, though that perception now seems to be changing. This may, in part, be because certain product lines, like the aforementioned, are changing to become more appealing to the average consumer by way of affordability.

Leading up to this holiday season, both Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home line saw smaller, cheaper additions to their ranks in the form of the Echo Dot and Home Mini. Although less capable then their larger siblings, these $50 devices serve as excellent gateways into the world of smart speakers and home automation, and with their prices reduced to a meager $29 for Christmas, the tiny speakers might have made their way to many a stocking yesterday.

While both Amazon and Google continue to make headway in the connected speaker market, Apple has yet to take off, with the release of its relatively expensive HomePod delayed to early 2018. The Cupertino company may not be looking to directly compete with the current spearheads of said market, however, as its $349 HomePod has been advertised as more of a music device than one excelling at home and task automation.

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