Smart displays for Google Assistant are here, with Lenovo leading the charge
In the ongoing smart speaker battle being played out between the Google Home and Amazon Echo ranges, there was one Amazon product that Google didn't have an equivalent for: the Amazon Echo Show, a speaker with a screen. That's about to change with the Lenovo Smart Display.
The Smart Display is in fact the first of many devices that will come with both Google Assistant and a screen, so you'll be able to see the weather forecasts as well as listen to them, and of course access a host of video content and photos that aren't available when you're using a smart speaker without a display.
Lenovo's Smart Display offers a full HD resolution in either an 8-inch or 10-inch models. It offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for getting your other gadgets connected, and the integrated speaker is rated at 10 watts. As you would expect, it works perfectly with Google's Nest devices, as well as a variety of other smart home gear.
Google Maps, Google Duo video calling, and YouTube are some of the use cases mentioned by Lenovo that make use of the display. "Picture dad in the kitchen making a new dish for a dinner party," suggests Lenovo. "Hands coated in marinade and dinner guests arriving soon, he asks the Google Assistant on his Lenovo Smart Display to show a YouTube video tutorial of the recipe."
The Smart Display can be set either horizontally or vertically too, depending on your preference. You get to choose from either a soft gray or natural bamboo color, and the device will set you back from either US$199.99 or $249.99 when it goes on sale later this year, depending on the size of screen you choose.
Google reports that its Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices, and the onboard smart AI is going to be just as important as the hardware design as Google and Amazon (and others) slug it out in the years ahead. Which speaker set you opt for may well depend on which digital assistant works best for you.
As you can see in the video below, a touchscreen display adds a whole lot of extra functionality to the original Google Home concept. More smart displays from partners including JBL, Sony, and LG will be on the way later in the year, while Google Assistant continues to spread its reach into more speakers, headphones, and car audio units.