Smart displays are the next stop for Google Assistant. The digital assistant that launched a little more than a year ago will make its way to standalone touch-enabled screens throughout 2018. Google made the announcement in Las Vegas at CES 2018, and there’s no shortage of partners stepping forward to help fight against Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo Show.
JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony have already agreed to release smart displays of their own this year. It’s unclear if Google will do so, too.
Just as you’d expect, Google Assistant on a smart display behaves as it does on anything else but now with a visual aid. It’s nothing more than Google Assistant on a screen with premium speakers attached. Say “OK Google” or “Hey Google” followed by a command, and then the digital assistant will respond both by speaking to you and showing results on the screen. Information can also be sent to a paired Android device.
Google Assistant on a smart display allows you to ask questions, make video calls with Duo, find pictures and videos from Google Photos, and even watch videos on YouTube. That last one is particularly interesting since, in recent months, Google and Amazon having been at war over YouTube on the Echo Show. The video streaming service is no longer available on Amazon’s product, and the announcement of Google Assistant-powered smart displays makes it seem like it’ll never return.
Lenovo and JBL have announced their offerings, but we’re still waiting on LG and Sony. While Lenovo went for a rather plain name with the Smart Display, JBL calls its smart display the Link View. JBL’s Link View has best-in-class sound, of course, with high definition audio. Speaker output is set at 2 x 10W, and there’s an 8-inch display showing what Google Assistant finds.
Meanwhile, Lenovo will sell its Smart Display in two sizes. There’s an 8-inch model, which will likely be the standard size for all upcoming smart displays, and a larger 10-inch model. Rather than surrounding the display with speakers, Lenovo put its speakers to the side. It can actually be positioned in portrait or landscape mode, too.
Both partners will begin selling their smart displays early this summer, but Lenovo is at least spilling specifics on pricing. The 8-inch model and 10-inch model will cost $199 and $249, respectively.
Although Google didn’t confirm the development of its own smart display, we can’t imagine the company not creating something. Google is now committed to hardware just as much as it is software; therefore, don’t be surprised if a Google-branded smart display powered by the rising digital assistant is launched closer to the end of the year. The company needs to stay competitive with Amazon and incoming challengers like Apple, so leveraging Google Assistant on an in-house smart display is expected.