Google Assistant is coming to a number of screens, but not in the way that many of us may have thought. While we long anticipated Google to answer the challenge presented by Amazon’s Echo Show and its touchscreen smart speaker and home hub, we didn’t think the company would rely on hardware from third parties. But that’s precisely what Google did at CES 2018 with devices like the new JBL Link View, an 8-inch touchscreen that has Google Assistant built-in to answer all your pressing questions and control all your household appliances. As of this week, the JBL Link View has been made available for pre-order — now, you’ll have the opportunity to shell out $250 in order to receive a new Google Assistant-powered smart screen on Monday, September 3.
The JBL Link View also features a 5-megapixel camera and two front-firing 10W stereo speakers, as well as a rear-facing passive radiator that promises “rich, deep bass.” The oval face certainly looks different from the Echo Show’s more angular aesthetic, and JBL says that it’s used premium materials throughout the smart display to make cleaning easier. The smart display also includes Google Cast support for multiroom audio, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and IPX4 splash-proof protection so you can take the display to the pool.
Like all other Assistant-enabled smart speakers, the JBL Link can receive and respond to Assistant commands in order to control connected devices, add events to calendars, search the web, stream music, or anything else that Google’s smart helper can now do. And of course, with the added benefit of a screen, you’ll also be able to use the Link to make video calls, watch videos, or visualize information like a map.
All in all, the JBL smart display seems quite similar to the Lenovo Smart Display, which also debuted at CES 2018. Both are intended to be competitors to the Amazon Echo Show, which currently retails for $230 on Amazon, while the Google Home goes for $129 at Walmart. The JBL Link View, however, will likely try to differentiate itself based on its sound quality, which could be a major sell for customers looking not only for a smart home hub, but a good speaker too. We’ll just have to see how interested the general populace is in this newest smart speaker over the course of the next couple days.
Updated on August 2: The JBL Link View has been made available for pre-order this week.