Google is on a mission to make its virtual helper, Google Assistant, more available by rolling it into a number of third-party smart speakers. Just as Amazon’s Alexa is breaking the confines of the Echo and Dot, Google Assistant will be moving beyond the Google Home speaker into a range of new devices.
The first wave of Google Assistant speakers has just been announced at IFA in Berlin. Here’s the lineup we know about so far.
Anker Zolo Mojo
A big name in mobile accessories, Anker is also a brand associated with value for money. We expect the forthcoming Zolo Mojo, with a price point under $70, to be one of the cheapest Google Assistant speakers on the market.
With support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, the Zolo Mojo packs a fairly powerful 5W speaker with 1.7-inch full-range drivers with low distortion, and two unidirectional microphones with far-field voice recognition technology. Utter the magic words “OK Google” and you can get relevant updates about news, weather, your schedule for the day, or other topics you’re interested in. You can also ask questions, set alarms, and play tunes via supported music services like Google Play Music and Spotify.
Interestingly, the Zolo Mojo can distinguish between multiple voices and tailor the content it delivers accordingly. Expected to land in late October, the Zolo Mojo is the first Google Assistant device from Anker, but it certainly won’t be the last.
“We are super excited to be working with Google to bring what we believe will be the best entry-level smart speaker supporting The Assistant to consumers around the world,” Anker CEO Steven Yang said. “But this is just the beginning. Later this year, leveraging Anker’s unique heritage in mobile charging, music and connected devices, we will launch a number of smart devices and appliances for both the home and the car.”
JBL Link 10, 20, and 300
There will be three new Google Assistant-sporting speakers from the Harman sub-brand JBL. The Link 10 is the smallest and offers five hours of battery life, the larger Link 20 boasts 10-hour battery life, and the Link 300 is designed to be a stationary, plugged-in speaker. All three will respond to the “OK Google” voice prompt and the smaller, portable Link 10 and 20 also boast IPX7 water-resistance.
They will all be available from the fall, starting at $149 for the JBL Link 10, $199 for the JBL Link 20, and $249 for the Link 300.
Mobvoi Tichome Mini
The focus with Mobvoi’s Tichome Mini seems to be portability. This disc-shaped speaker has a handy strap for easy carrying, and it’s battery-powered, so you won’t always need an outlet. The Tichome Mini is also IPX6-rated, so you can use it around water without fear of damage. It will be available in a range of colors, including black, white, red, and green when it goes on sale this winter. Mobvoi says the Tichome Mini will cost under $100.
The SC-GA10 by Panasonic is being billed as a great speaker for music with support for services like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Deezer. It has a striking rectangular design with an aluminium body and black or white mesh around the outside. There are touch sensitive buttons on the top, but you can also control it via the Panasonic Music Control App, which also enables you to pair speakers.
To create high quality sound it’s equipped with two 20mm soft dome tweeters for 18- degree sound and an 80mm woofer with dual voice coils. Just like the rest of the lineup, it will support voice commands, queries, and music casting via Google Assistant, and you’ll be able to use multiple Google accounts with it. There’s support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but there’s also a 3.5mm jack in the back if you prefer to plug in. The Panasonic SC-GA10 should be available this winter or early 2018, but there’s no word on price yet.
If you’re looking for something similar to the Google Home, but with higher sound quality, then Sony has the speaker for you. The forthcoming LF-S50G has full Google Assistant support for voice commands, it can pair with your devices via Bluetooth, NFC, or Wi-Fi, and it’s packing a 360-degree speaker array with a woofer and a tweeter to bring you good quality vocals, treble, and bass.
The Sony LF-S50G is also splash-proof, with an IPX3 rating. You can control it touch-free with gestures to play, skip, and tweak the volume. It comes in your choice of black or white. The Sony LF-S50G is set to land in October and will cost $200.
That’s all the Google Assistant speakers we know about so far, but Google has promised more announcements throughout the week, so stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, here are some funny questions to ask Google Assistant.
Updated: Added more detail on the Panasonic SC-GA10, and the Sony LF-S50G.
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