Google Takes on Amazon's Echo Show With New 'Smart Display' Platform

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Taking its cues from Amazon's Echo Show, Google is teaming up with manufacturers to release Assistant-powered smart displays as well. Lenovo and Google unveiled a new smart home product, a smart display with built-in Google Assistant.

After Lenovo, JBL has now announced the details about its upcoming Smart display. Introduced at CES 2018, here is a quick look at the Lenovo Smart Display.

Available in a soft Grey or natural Bamboo colour, it matches most wooden, glass or granite tabletops.

There's a kickstand built into the back that'll let you prop the screen up either horizontally or vertically. It comes in two sizes (8-inch and 10-inch), should be here this summer (July), and will cost either $199.99 or $249.99.

Neither Apple Inc's assistant Siri nor Microsoft Corp's Cortana are now available on a speaker with a tablet-like display.

So, what are these smart displays? But, all three say the devices only collect data when you "wake it up" with a question.

Better still it could be coming to a auto near you - Panasonic is already committing to it with its automotive partners and it will also appear on a number of this years Kia models.

While I'm not completely sold on the idea that smart speakers need to have physical screens, there's no doubt that Google has built a UI that feels at home on such a device. For instance, saying "Show me the kids room" displayed a feed from a Nest camera. It is a touchscreen device with Assistant to provide weather, traffic, and news updates. In fact, Amazon by its Echo Show speaker has already revealed the new face of speakers flaunting touchscreens. With just your voice, you can pull up photos from your Google Photos library, make video calls with the Google Duo service, and, notably, play YouTube videos - potentially a big selling point for these devices, given Google recently yanked support for YouTube from Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices. When not in use, the display doubles as a digital picture frame.

The smart displays also will feature all of the usual Google notifications, similar to the old Google Now screen on Android. The 624, specifically, is what's powering these smart displays thanks to its support of video cameras and touch displays. This gives you the ability to control your appliances from wherever you are in the house through simple voice commands. The first Google Assistant smart displays will be available later this year.

"The design of AI-enabled home hubs can be a complex task, requiring OEMs to bring together connectivity, compute and security hardware and software elements in a very short time", said Raj Talluri, SVP of product management for Qualcomm Technologies.

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