The story of CES 2018 has been the battle of two voice assistants: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Up until recently, Amazon has been running circles around Google Assistant, and now the company is playing catch-up. As a result of Amazon’s mildly successful Echo Show, Google has teamed up with certain manufacturers to create Assistant-powered screens. The first of which is Lenovo, with their 8- and 10-inch smart displays.
The 8-inch model has a resolution of 1200 x 800, while the 10-inch one has a resolution of 1920 x 1200. Besides that, however, both models are essentially the same. They both have Qualcomm‘s SDA 624 processor, alongside vertical speakers on the right side, which covers the built-in 720p camera. There is even support to have the device in either landscape or portrait orientations.
These devices, however, do not run Android with a custom Assistant skin over it. According to Google Assistant director Chris Turkstra, the Smart Displays run Android Things OS and boot directly into the Assistant interface. This means that you won’t be downloading apps or swiping through the usual Android home screens.
The overall experience is the same of that on a Google Home, or other Assistant-powered speakers, except that you now get a screen that slides through digital picture frames like a Google Photo album, which will showcase relevant data.
The Smart Displays, in turn, bring improved functionality to the table. For example, Google’s Duo video messaging service is easy to use, asking for directions will highlight a map on the screen alongside showing up on the smartphone, the option to view Nest security cameras, and more.
Lenovo’s 8-inch Smart Display will set you back $199, while the 10-inch model will cost $249. Both will be available sometime during the summer.