MORE VOICE-ASSISTED products are seen to be available in the Philippines, as American audio equipment maker JBL looks to intensify its presence in the country.
Samsung Electronics subsidiary Harman International Industries, JBL’s parent company, last week launched its first line of Bluetooth speakers and headphones with a built-in Google Assistant in the Asia-Pacific in the Philippines.
“In the APAC region, especially in the Philippines, consumers are still buying Bluetooth speakers… [It’s] easy to use and it’s [getting] more affordable, [with] mid-range products,” Seng Hock Chang, Brand Activation Director & Sales Director for Car Audio at Harman International (APAC), told BusinessWorld at the launch last week.
“Voice platform will slowly but surely grow so we will monitor this very closely. We are seeing the growth happening very fast, [so] we [will] give a wider range of products at different price points,” he added.
Launched last week were the Google Voice-assisted JBL Link series and JBL Everest GA series.
The JBL Link line has four products with a built-in Google Assistant. Two items in the line, the Link 10 and Link 20, are smaller, portable and waterproof, with five and 10 hours of battery life, respectively. Meanwhile, the Link 500 and Link 300 are larger and meant for home use. Multiple speakers can be connected via the Google Home app, as with other Chromecast built-in products.
On the other hand, the JBL Everest headphone line, on the other hand, comes in three kinds: the in-ear Everest Elite 110GA, on-ear Everest 310GA, and on-ear Everest 710GA with playtime of eight, 10 and 25 hours, respectively. These wireless Bluetooth headphones can access Google Assistant with a button and allow users to control music via voice commands.
JBL is looking to launch more voice-assisted gadgets here before Christmas.
As soon as Google gives its go signal, JBL will also release JBL Link View, a speaker with built-in 10-inch screen, and JBL Link Bar, a voice-activated sound bar which is doubles as a speaker and a device to control the television it is connected to.
While JBL is not expecting to compete with Amazon and Google in the voice-assisted platform market, it is expecting its line of voice-assisted speakers to rank at third.
“As soon as the voice platform is available, we can launch the product. So if tomorrow, Amazon sees that Alexa is ready in the Philippines, we will be able to launch Alexa,” Mr. Seng said, hinting that they are also open to partner with Amazon to give its consumers more choices.
Mr. Seng said the key is looking for a larger consumer market with mastery in the English language.
“Philippine customers are very discerning. I think your command of English is very strong, [and] this platform is currently only in English, [because] Tagalog is not ready,” he added.
With this in mind, Mr. Seng said that “the usage will be very seamless, will be easy for the consumers here to try it out and enjoy the functionalities.” — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato