CES is full of surprises and boring things. One of those surprises is a new smart display from Lenovo powered by Google Assistant.
Lenovo’s new Smart Display is basically a prettier version of Amazon’s Echo Show, both in terms of the software and the hardware. Lenovo’s smart assistant comes with a minimalistic design that’s available in two different sizes: an 8-inch HD variant that sits vertically and only comes in grey, while a 10-inch FHD variant that can be placed horizontally and comes in a natural bamboo finish. Hardware wise, there isn’t a lot of interesting things going on here — there’s a fairly basic 720p camera for video calls, and the whole thing is powered by Qualcomm’s Home Hub platform and runs on the Snapdragon 624 processor.
Let’s talk about the software. Lenovo’s Smart Display is powered by the Google Assistant and has a simple user interface designed for Material Design. You can use the “OK, Google” hotword to activate the assistant, and then you can get the Assistant to do all the basic things like setting reminders, managing your calendar, checking the news, weather, etc.
Smart Display supports YouTube, Google Photos, and uses Google Duo for video calls with the 720p camera. The YouTube integration will be crucial here — and that’s mainly because of Google’s ongoing fight with Amazon, part of which the company pulled support for YouTube from Amazon’s Fire devices. All of Amazon’s Fire devices, plus the Echo Show, now have a pretty weird YouTube experience as Amazon is using YouTube’s web apps to get around the block from Google. But on Lenovo’s Smart Display, you will obviously get the best YouTube experience. No questions asked.
Lenovo’s Smart Display is one of the first smart displays with Google Assistant, and I suspect more similar devices will launch in the near feature. In fact, Google is rumoured to be working on its own smart display to take on the Echo Show, too. Nonetheless, if you are looking to grab Lenovo’s Smart Display, the 8-inch variant will be available for $199, while the 10-inch variant will sell for $249, available sometime early this summer.