Both companies cut prices for the smallest version of their speakers, the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, to as little as $29 from $50 for the U.S. holidays. Midlevel versions cost a bit more than twice as much.
Apple failed to ship its $349 HomePod speaker in 2017, as it initially planned, and said the device would go on sale in early 2018.
Apple aims to make a profit on the device itself and bolster sales of its $9.99 per month Apple Music subscription, analysts said. Apple’s voice assistant Siri likely will focus on recommending new songs.
Amazon and Google, meanwhile, are eager to give consumers a taste of their respective digital assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant, at impulse-buy prices, hoping to lock in customers and profit from later sales of goods and data about buying habits.