AI CES 2018 Recap with Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana and Samsung

This year we attended CES 2018 for the 5th consecutive time and it was massive! We have never seen it busier and more packed prior to this year. CES 2018 had more than 3,900 exhibitors showcased innovative technologies that spanned more than 2.75 million net square feet of exhibit space across Las Vegas the largest show floor in CES’ 51 year history. There were 860,732 tweets about CES 2018 and 450,554 uses of the #CES2018 hashtag.

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa dominated the AI tech displays at CES 2018. Google had the largest presence with Google displays all over the Las Vegas Convention Center starting with a giant gum ball machine inside the convention center. Outside the convention center Google had a giant play land that that had huge screens and several different levels plus a rooftop coffee bar. In true Google style they also had a massive blue slide connected to the structure. This was the first CES I have been to where Google had a massive presence and I have been going since 2009.

What are the differences between the AI systems? See below to view their different AI specification for Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana and Bixby assistant.

Google Assistant

With the Google Assistant app, you can:

  • Make quick phone calls (e.g. “Call Mom.”)
  • Send text messages (e.g. “Text my bestie.”)
  • Email your boss (e.g. “Here is the latest TPS report.”)
  • Set reminders (e.g. “Remind me to buy a birthday gift for Sarah.”)
  • Set calendar events (e.g. “Set a calendar event for dinner with Charlie tomorrow from 7-9.”)
  • Play music (e.g. “Play jazz music on YouTube.”)
  • Navigate places (e.g. “Get me directions home.”)
  • Weather information (e.g. “Do I need an umbrella today?”)

To download Google Assistant or to learn more click here.


Alexa was huge last year at CES and one would assume the hype died down but it is not! Though they didn’t have the massive displays at CES like Google their popularity continues to grow in the market place. Below are the current specs for Alexa.

  • Music & Entertainment – Alexa provides hands-free voice control for music and entertainment.
  • Calling & Messaging
  • News & Information – Alexa can help you stay connected to the news that matters most to you.
  • Questions & Answers – Alexa can get you answers.
  • Help Around the House – Alexa makes your home life easier
  • Smart Home – Alexa lets you control smart-home devices such as lights, switches, thermostats and more.
  • Alexa Fun & Games- Lighten up with Alexa
  • Alexa Skills – Personalize your Alexa device experience.
  • Alexa – Shopping
  • Communicates with Cortana

To download the Alexa App click here and for more information about Alexa click here.


Another big announcement for AI assistants is Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana can now communicate to each other.  Now, with their programming languages they have developed for both Alexa and Cortana can be used across an array of devices for both Amazon and Microsoft. Below are Cortana’s present specs:

  • Time-based reminders – Set a reminder with a specific time or day, such as 3PM or every Monday
  • Location-based reminders- Set a reminder with a location, such as the grocery store
  • Photo reminders-  Add a photo to your reminders so you are reminded about it the next time you’re shopping.
  • Lists- Cortana makes it quick and easy to make a list and keep track of the things you need to remember
  • Package tracking -“Hey Cortana, when’s my package going to arrive?”
  • Local device search – “Hey Cortana, pull up the Tailspin Toys presentation”
  • Find my phone – “Hey Cortana, where’s my phone?”
  • Flight tracker – ”Hey Cortana, is my flight on time?”
  • Missed call notification
  • Text from PC – “Hey Cortana, send a text.”
  • App notification mirroring

They also announced the Cortana Skills Kit which allows developers to easily create intelligent, personalized experiences for Cortana. For more information about Cortana click here.

Microsoft also announced with partner Harman Kardon their new voice-activated speaker, the Invoke intelligent speaker with Cortana. Invoke with Cortana features:

  • 360-degree sound from three direct-radiating woofers
  • Three direct-radiating tweeters and two passive radiators.
  • Harman’s Sonique far-field voice recognition with seven-microphones ensuring that Cortana can hear you from any direction.
  • Music technology services available that include Spotify Premium, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. In the near future they will add Pandora to their services
  • Invoke comes in two color options, Pearl Silver (White) and Graphite (Black)
  • Retails for $199.95 USD.

Invoke with Cortana will be available in-store and online at Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and online at



Samsung  also unveiled it’s voice assistant, Bixby, to its smart TVs and Family Hub fridges this year. Bixby support in Samsung’s 2018 TVs will let you search for:

  • TV shows and movies
  • Ask for a weather report
  • Turn on the lights
  • Play a song from Spotify
  • Show photos from the cloud
  • Play trivia

Samsung also talked about other services and new offerings beyond its unveilings of new gadgets, like the SmartThings Cloud it announced at its developer conference in October. For more information about Samsung’s Bixby click here.

This concludes my recap of CES 2018’s AI experience. Stay Tuned for more recaps of CES including the Sands Expo and Eureka Park.


Source: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Samsung, CES, CTA