Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

CES 2018: Google's Smart Display makes the Assistant smart

Android Things assisting with AI at CES 2018 New Google Assistant directory helps you discover actions
Melba Vasquez | 13 January, 2018, 08:57

The question now is whether customers will want to buy Google's version of these "show and tell" speakers, which Google calls Smart Displays and will be sold by JBL, LG, Lenovo and Sony.

LG's entry into the Google Assistant smart display arena is the ThinQ Google Assistant Touch Speaker and we don't know much about it in terms of pricing and availability.

Google Assistant on smart displays can do a ton of the traditional assistant stuff: show you your photos and calendar, give you directions, recipes, and do video conferencing.

As of now, the Google smart displays aren't able to browse the Web or have applications installed on them like a tablet would. However, unlike the Echo Show, the Google devices will have unmatched support for Google services, particularly Maps and YouTube - both of which rely on a display as the primary source of output.

Lenovo is the first company to introduce its Google Assistant-equipped smart speaker at CES. Amazon's Echo Show on the other hand comes with a 7-inch display.

New headphones from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony will also offer the service and starting in the United States from this week, Assistant will be added to Google's connected vehicle service Android Auto. What's more, Google says that it's working with auto makers to integrate Assistant directly into their cars, with no phone required.

The theme at this year's show seems to be about connected devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Google is trying to push Assistant into other devices in the home as well. In doing so, Google is attempting to catch up to Amazon, whose artificial intelligence-powered Echo dominates the market for smart speakers. He says that there was a lot of "excitement" about bringing the Google Assistant to screen-based devices from those manufacturers, so Google moved to assist.

To be available from Q2 this year, the 10-inch Smart Display will retail for $249.99, while the 8-inch model will go for $199.99. Like Amazon's Echo Show, these smart displays are created to sit stationary on a counter, table, or desk. The 8-inch model will have an HD screen, whereas the 10-inch model will include a full HD screen. It will be called JBL Link View.

Google has built the operating system entirely itself, giving Assistant a viable UI that feels fluid and useful for a product like this.

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