Lenovo outs its own Alexa-powered home speaker
Lenovo will be the next major tech company to dive into the smart home market with its own AI-powered speaker, called the Smart Assistant. Following the launch of Google Home, and amidst rumors that Microsoft intends to enter the competition harnessing the power of Cortana and ubiquity of Windows PC, we were not the least bit surprised to learn of Lenovo's plans.
The Chinese tech giant won't be competing with Amazon, however, but will use the wits of its AI assistant instead. The Lenovo Smart Assistant is powered by Alexa and looks quite similar to Amazon's Echo in the freshly released press images. Retaining Echo's cylindrical design, the device is half aluminum casing, half colored speaker grill. Its base model will cost $129, which is $50 less than the Echo, but there will also be a better sounding Harman Kardon version available at $179, on par with Amazon's offering. Lenovo's Smart Assistant will come in three colors initially — Light Gray, Orange, and Green — but more may be released after launch. The color options will vary depending on region and are still subject to change, Amazon warns.
On the technical side, the speaker will sport eight 360-degree, far-field microphones with noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation, that will enable the device to pick up voice commands from up to 16 feet away. The speaker will be able to run Lenovo-branded smart home devices, as well as scores of existing third-party products, the company claims.
Although the Lenovo Smart Assistant doesn't break any new ground, both design- and functionality-wise, it still makes sense for Lenovo to come out with its own take on the smart home speaker. The company is expanding its lineup of IoT devices, and its Smart Assistant can serve as a central control hub for all of them, as well as third-party offerings.
The Lenovo Smart Assistant will be available in May starting at $129.99 for the base model, and $179.99 for the Harman Kardon edition.