The wait is finally over: Google Smart Displays will begin shipping in July 2018.
Google, which has partnered with a number of companies to bring Google Assistantto a touchscreen, announced the news at its 2018 Google I/O conference this week. The devices — from Lenovo, LG, and JBL — will feature a screen rather than just a speaker and will compete withAmazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot devices. While it’s unclear which speakers will be available first — The LG ThinQ WK9, the Lenovo Smart Display, or the JBL Link View — our money is on the Lenovo, which we got our hands on during CES and were impressed with.
Each device will feature something that Amazon’s voice assistants do not: YouTube. You can also use things like Google Maps, watch recipes, or go shopping with the visual aid of a screen. We’ll update you on exact availability for each device when that information becomes available, but in the meantime, here’s a bit more detail on each.
Details are sparse about the LG display, though we do have an image and a name. The LG ThinQ WK9 will have an 8-inch touch display, as well as a front-facing camera, and audio will be provided by Meridian Audio. Naturally, it will boast built-in Assistant and Chromecast, which means you can not only tell Assistant what to do using the speaker, but see its response when necessary (with maps, recipe directions, and more). The TinQ WK9 will also allow you to watch YouTube videos and make Duo calls, plus you can pair it with other Chromecast- and Assistant-enabled speakers.
Pricing is not yet available, but we’ll update you as we know more.
We’re starting to get a bit more detail with the JBL Link View, which will feature an 8-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera when it makes its debut in the summer. It’ll also feature two front-firing 10W stereo speakers,as well as a rear-facing passive radiator that promises “rich, deep bass.” JBL has also noted that it’s using premium materials for the speaker to make for easier cleaning. Google Cast support will allow for multiroom audio, and the Link View has IPX4 splash-proof protection, so you can take the display to the pool.
The oval face will set this smart display apart from others on the market, and like all other Assistant-enabled smart speakers, it will be able toreceive and respond to Assistant commands,as well as make video calls, display videos, or visualize information like a map.
Pricing information isn’t available yet, but we anticipate it running somewhere between $129 (the price of the Google Home) and $230 (the price of the Echo Show).
Perhaps the most advanced of the lot thus far, the Lenovo Smart Displayis a full HD touchscreen that will be made available this summer in both 8-inchand 10-inch models. Branded as the “ideal home companion” for folks looking for useful technology in a busy household, it will display the latest weather and traffic updates, meeting schedules, video calls, and more.
The 10-watt, full-range speaker will allow you to play YouTube videos or recipe tutorials on full blast, and built-in Google Assistant will let you tell Nest to turn on the heater or turn down the AC. The Lenovo Smart Display can be rotated to sit either in portrait or landscape mode depending on your needs, and when you’re not using it to stay on top of your daily tasks, the display will sit still and look pretty, serving as a digital picture frame.
We’re pretty big fans of the display already, what with its crystal-clear display and, of course, Google Assistant integration. While sound quality could be improved, it’s totally possible that initial kinks in the system could be worked out by the time it hits shelves in a few months.
Lenovo plans on making the display available in soft gray or natural bamboo. The 10-inch version starts at $250 while the 8-inch will sell for $200.