The smart speaker wars stepped up a notch this year when Google and partners including Lenovo unveiled Smart Displays at CES. While they’re not quite ready to launch at retail, they could soon and at Mobile World Congress they’re doing demos so we thought we’d check them out.
The smart displays come in two sizes: 8″ and 10″ with a speaker built-in on one side. The units come with a bamboo rear on the 10″ model and a soft touch plastic on the 8″, with a non-removable power cable hanging out the back. The smart displays are designed to work in both landscape or portrait orientation allowing you to do video calls if you want.
They do have a camera inside, but in a nod to privacy concerns Lenovo has built a manual shutter cover in to the unit so you can slide it across if you don’t want it accidentally being activated without your knowledge.
The smart display is integrated with the recently released Routines, allowing you to set several actions with a single command such as ‘Ok Google, Good Morning’ which you could have set to turn on the lights, your smart coffee maker, and then play the news, which on Smart Displays will be the local YouTube news channel – though like the podcasts in ‘Your Day’ you can personalise it to the show of your choice in the Google Home app.
Of course you can play a game on the Smart Display, with the ‘Ok Google, I’m feeling lucky’ game now animated on the smart display.
Overall it looks great and can’t wait to see it.
When they were announced back in January, Lenovo advised that the 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display would be priced at $US249.99, while the 8-inch model starts at $US199.99, with both expected to be available within the next few months. We still haven’t had Australian availability confirmed at this stage, but it’s likely they’ll arrive here soon after launching in the US.
If you want to check out the complete demo from Mobile World Congress, you can check out Gerard from Google demoing the Smart Display for us