Look out, Amazon Echo Show. Your days of domineering the smart display market may soon be coming to an end. At CES 2018, Google finally fired back at Amazon, and partnered with a number of companies to bring Google Assistant to a touchscreen. While not necessarily the approach we had in mind for Google (it may seem odd that the company is leaning on others to produce the hardware for these displays), the tech giant’s strategy certainly allows it to add Assistant to many more devices far more quickly than otherwise possible. After all, at CES 2018 alone, we’ve seen smart displays from LG, Sony, Lenovo, and Harman via JBL, and only time will tell how many more Google Assistant-laden smart displays we may see in the near future.
Details are scarcest about the type of smart display that will emerge from Sony. All we know is that Google Assistant (which has proven to be an overarching theme throughout CES 2018) will soon make its way to a screened smart speaker. It’s unclear as of yet when the display will make an appearance, or how much it will cost.
Details are almost as sparse about the LG display, though we do have an image and a name. The LG ThinQ WK9 will have an 8-inch touch display as well as a front-facing camera, and audio will be provided by Meridian Audio. Naturally, it will boast built-in Assistant and Chromecast, which means you can not only tell Assistant what to do using the speaker, but see its response when necessary (with maps, recipe directions, and more). The TinQ WK9 will also allow you to watch YouTube videos, make Duo calls, and pair it with other Chromecast and Assistant-enabled speakers.
Pricing and availability information is not yet available, but we’ll update you as we know more.
We start to get a bit more detail with the JBL Link View, which will feature an 8-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera when it makes its debut in the summer. It’ll also feature two front-firing 10W stereo speakers, as well as a rear-facing passive radiator that promises “rich, deep bass.” JBL has also noted that it’s using premium materials for the speaker to make for easier cleaning. Google Cast support will allow for multiroom audio, and the Link View has IPX4 splashproof protection, so you can take the display to the pool.
The oval face will set this smart display apart from others on the market, and like all other Assistant-enabled smart speakers, will be able to receive and respond to Assistant commands, as well as make video calls, watch videos, or visualize information like a map.
Pricing information isn’t available yet, but we anticipate it running somewhere between $129 (the price of the Google Home) and $230 (the price of the Echo Show).
Perhaps the most advanced of the lot thus far, the Lenovo Smart Display is a full HD touchscreen that will be made available this summer in both 8- and 10-inch models. Branded as the “ideal home companion” for folks looking for useful technology in a busy household, the Smart Display will display the latest weather and traffic updates, meeting schedules, video calls, and more.
The 10-watt, full-range speaker will allow you to play YouTube videos or recipe tutorials on full blast, and built-in Google Assistant will let you tell Nest to turn on the heater or turn down the AC. The Lenovo Smart Display can be rotated to sit either in portrait or landscape mode depending on your needs, and when you’re not using it to stay on top of your daily tasks, the display will sit still and look pretty, serving as a digital picture frame.
We’re pretty big fans of the display already, what with its crystal clear display and, of course, Google Assistant integration. While sound quality could be improved, it’s totally possible that initial kinks in the system could be worked out by the time it hits shelves in a few months.
Lenovo plans on making the display available in soft gray or natural bamboo, and the 10-inch version starts at $250 while the 8-inch will sell for $200.
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