It seems like every major player in the audio industry is keen to release smart speakers. These ‘smart’ speakers come equipped with Alexa or Google Assistant — or sometimes both. In recent weeks, we have seen different brands unveiling their new or updated smart speakers with either of these personal assistants.
JBL, for instance, announced a $399 soundbar called Link Bar, that will be equipped with Google Assistant (and Android TV). Harman also announced Citation 500, the company’s third and most expensive smart speaker with Google Assistant. Previously, Bose had unveiled QC35 II wireless headphones with Alexa. Sonos is also not forgetting to add Google Assistant to their speakers. Their smart speakers are expected to receive Google Assistant support by the year’s end.
And now we have Marshall announcing that two of their Bluetooth speakers are receiving Alexa support. The company announced this update at IFA 2018, Berlin.
Marshall has updated their Stanmore II and Acton II speakers with some design changes. Far-field mics have been added to support Alexa and there’s also a mute button that will let you stop Amazon from listening to you. Apart from these changes, both Stanmore II and Acton II speakers are the same as their previous versions.
Acton II Voice packs one 30 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer and two 15 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters. Stanmore II Voice has one 50 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer along with two 15 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters. In addition to a 3.5mm jack, there’s an RCA input in Stanmore model. Acton is missing the RCA input option.
Priced at $399, Stanmore II Voice will be available for pre-order starting today with shipping beginning from October 2nd. Pre-orders for the $299 Acton II Voice will begin on October 2nd with shipping expected to begin on November 9th.
According to the Verge, Marshall is also working on bringing Google Assistant to Action II Voice and Stanmore II Voice. Speakers with Google Assistant support will be separate from those with Alexa support. If you prefer Google’s Assistant over Alexa, you will have to wait until the year’s end to enjoy it on your Marshalls.