Facing incredibly tough competition from Amazon, and with Apple's HomePod
on the horizon, Google announced that Google Assistant
will be making its way to a wide range of smart home speakers made by different manufacturers in 2018. Major tech companies, including Bang & Olufsen, Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Lenovo, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio, SōLIS, and Sony are reportedly on board and will be producing their own smart speakers powered by Google's AI Assistant.
What's more interesting is that JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony in particular will be launching smart speakers with touchscreens, akin to the Amazon Show, while the other companies may launch simpler, more affordable Assistant-powered devices.
Product management director for Google Assistant, Gummi Hafsteinsson, told TechCrunch the touch-enabled speakers—or 'smart displays' as Google likes to call them—will support all standard Google services and functionality you'd expect to find in a Google Home, only with a screen up front.
Google is keeping mum about the details, pricing, and availability of these smart displays, but prices are likely to start at around $200 and go up from there depending on features and screen size. Lenovo, for example, is planning to charge $199 for the 8-inch version of its Smart Display and $249 for the 10-inch model, TechCrunch
As far as availability is concerned, nothing is certain at this point, but JBL has announced that its Google Assistant-powered smart display will go on sale in the U.S. in the summer, so it's likely that other partners may target the same window as well.