If you’re familiar with CES and the typical bout of companies and products they feature each year, you will know that Google is rarely amongst them. CES 2018 is different, and Google’s presence is quite difficult not to notice, as they enter to tech convention with an abundance of new, exciting developments in their smart technology systems.
Last year, Amazon’s Alexa was the clear favorite as far as voice-centric assistants go, but this year Google isn’t willing to take the back seat with their new products, and they plan to emerge on top with the announcement of the Google Assistant.
The Google Assistant is a new voice activated system that isn’t limited to just one device—the assistant can come in the form of speakers, android powered TVs, headphones, and cars, to name a few. However, Google’s seemingly direct hit at Amazon comes with the introduction of their Smart Displays, a device that will run on Google Assistant.
The Smart Displays will operate as voice-centric computers, responding to voice commands, but will also include an interactive tablet-like touchscreen. These products will be developed by Google’s hardware partners—the likes of Lenovo, JBL, and Sony.
Time Inc. recounts their early preview of Lenovo’s Smart Display, noting that those the device looks like a traditional tablet, you won’t interact with it through the use of apps. The device can assist you on nearly everything: asking questions, controlling smart home devices, playing music etc. It goes even further by incorporating advanced technology that understands your commands based on context. Say, for example, you ask for a restaurant recommendation and the Smart Display provides you with one. Instead of having to say “How do I get to *insert restaurant name*?” You can simply say “How do I get there?” and the device will understand what you are talking about.
Another key factor to the device is its ability to play You Tube videos. Google just recently blocked YouTube from the Amazon Alexa-powered Echo Show, meaning the YouTube feature is incredibly valuable to setting this product apart from other similar ones.
The Lenovo Smart Display will be available starting this summer, in two sizes. The first is an 8-inch model that costs $199.99, the second is a 10-inch model priced at $249.99.
Google launched into CES with a bang, and their presence is surely not to be missed. While many major corporations choose to save their product announcements for a formal event, Google already begun promoting their product on train cars, in casinos, and elsewhere, in order to build the suspense for a product people are already expecting. Whether or not Google will be successful in their attempt to outshine Amazon Alexa has yet to be concluded, but if the hype around their new products is anything like the results of their release, I’d say they’ll be greatly successful.