The already powerful and versatile Google Assistant got a bunch of exciting upgrades at the I/O developer conference last month, at least one of which you’re unlikely to actually use anytime soon, but surprisingly enough, the Mountain View-based search giant still doesn’t look ready to challenge Amazon’s Alexa in the “Smart Display” space.
Formally unveiled way back in January, Lenovo, JBL and LG’s Google Assistant-powered Echo Show “slayers” are not up for grabs yet anywhere in the world. The LG WK9 discreetly went up for pre-order several months ago, disappearing just as quietly from B&H’s website while still being listed as “coming soon” on lg.com/us.
Rumored to make its debut during the I/O 2018 opening event, Google’s own in-house Smart Display never broke cover, although the company did promise the three partners’ touchscreen-sporting speakers would finally go on sale sometime in July.
The aptly titled Lenovo Smart Display is now available for early pre-orders from B&H Photo Video, but unfortunately, the retailer expects both the 8 and 10.1-inch variant to only start shipping on September 3.
On the plus side, the two “virtual assistant speakers” are slightly more affordable than expected, at $150 and $230 respectively. The larger model also comes with a sharper WUXGA (1920 x 1200) display, while the smaller version sports fairly modest WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution.
Both devices can “run your home”, controlling compatible connected smart home accessories, while also making and receiving Google Duo voice calls, and boasting dual-array microphones, as well as a 10-watt, full-range driver for an always-listening, always-answering experience. Let’s hope other retailers will be able to get these in the hands of customers earlier.