The Amazon Alexa platform might have been the undisputed star of CES 2017, but this year the Google Assistant is taking its own shot at global domination.
At its ‘Hey Google’ showcase in Las Vegas, the company announced a number of new smart speakers and headphones from third-party manufacturers. The Google Assistant is also coming to automobiles via Android Auto, as well as direct integration through car manufacturers like Kia.
The firm also previewed a host of touchscreen Assistant devices that have …erm… echoes of the Amazon Echo Show. Those machines will be produced by the likes of JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony and you can see the preview in the video below.
Like the Show, users of the Google-based touschreen devices will display videos, enable video calls, showcase calendars and visualise information from the web.
One such device is the JBL Link View (pictured), which has an 8-inch display flanked by a pair of 10W speakers. It has a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, built-in Chromecast and IPX4 splash protection.
Another is the Lenovo Smart Display (below), which will arrive this summer for under $200. That has a single speaker and the choice of 8- or 10-inch displays. Of course, you’ll be able to see the weather, calendar, and interactive directions from Google Maps.
The Smart Display can operate in both portrait and landscape configurations. There’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 processor, 2GB of RAM and 4GB storage to boot. The 10-inch version even has a full HD display, as well as a sweet bamboo finish.
New Home alternatives
In terms of smart speakers, Altec Lansing, Anker, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio and SōLIS are all building audio accessories with the Assistant at their heart.
As for headphones, the existing offerings will be supplemented by products from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony.
However, perhaps the coolest Assistant news of all is the forthcoming integration within Android Auto.
Drivers with compatible vehicles will have faster access to common functionality through the new Actions feature. That means directions via Google Maps, music and much more will be available through voice commands.
The company is also working with a range of auto manufacturers to build the Google Assistant directly into the infotainment system.
Kia is among the car makers jumping on board from the get-go. Assistant will be part of a host of some 2018 models, such as the K900, Optima, Soul EV configurations. Panasonic is also adding the Google Assistant to the infotainment systems it builds for automotive partners.