Google expanded the types of hardware powered by Google Assistant with the introduction of the Smart Display platform, and in the process issued a challenge against Amazon's Alexa and the Echo Show smart speaker with screen.
Google has been trying to catch up with Amazon in the smart speaker industry. With the launch of the platform and new allies, Google may soon close the gap.
Lenovo Smart Display Unveiled At CES 2018
In its bid to challenge Amazon and Alexa, Google teamed up with four launch partners for the Smart Display platform. Through the platform, Lenovo, Samsung's JBL, LG, and Sony, will be able to create their own smart speakers with displays, similar to the Amazon Echo Show.
Google is not manufacturing its own hardware for the Amazon Echo Show competitors, unlike for the Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max smart speakers.
The Lenovo Smart Display was showcased at CES 2018, where the device was revealed to have two models, namely an 8-inch version and a 10-inch version. The device supports Duo video calling, Google Photos, Google Maps, and other popular apps and services offered by Google.
The devices do not have Google or Lenovo branding, with specifications that include HD resolution on the smaller model, FHD resolution on the bigger model, Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 chipsets, 2 GB of RAM, and 4 GB of storage. These will likely not matter though, as the main focus of the Lenovo Smart Display is to place a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with a display in living rooms and kitchens.
The Lenovo Smart Display will launch in the summer at $199 for the 8-inch model and $249 for the 10-inch model.
The JBL Link View, also based on the Smart Display platform, was unveiled with an 8-inch display at CES 2018, but details were scarce. Sony and LG, meanwhile, have not yet provided details on their own Smart Display devices.
Google vs Amazon Dispute Over YouTube
The Smart Display platform enables companies to create devices that resemble the Amazon Echo Show but powered by Google Assistant instead. The announcement of the platform provides an interesting spin on the recent dispute between Google and Amazon over the removal of YouTube from Amazon's devices.
Google pulled off YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show in early December and also removed the streaming service's app from the Amazon Fire TV ahead of schedule. An electronic device without easy access to YouTube is almost unheard of these days, but to try to mitigate the problem, Amazon is apparently developing something called AmazonTube.
Meanwhile, all the Smart Display devices, due to being supported by Google Assistant and Google's Smart Display platform, will offer easy access to YouTube. This means that owners of the devices can tap into the multitude of music videos and cooking tutorials available on the streaming service.