Lenovo Group Ltd. today gained the distinction of being first to market with an Android Things-power device with its Lenovo Smart Display. Selling at a recommended retail price of $199 for an eight-inch model or $249 for the 10-inch — $199 for the 10-inch model for Costco members — the Lenovo Smart Display brings the good fight to Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo Show. The device comes standard with Google Assistant and support for Google LLC’s increasing popular Chromecast sharing standard.
The device is somewhat odd-looking, with a tablet-like display but with a whopping big speaker on its lefthand side. The screen isn’t particularly high-spec, with the eight-inch model only offering a 1280-by-800 display and the 10-inch model a high-definition 1920-by-1200 display.
Under the hood, the Lenovo Smart Display is powered by a Snapdragon 624 with 4 gigabytes of onboard storage and 2GB of RAM with a front-facing 5-megapixel wide-pixel camera that can be covered with a built-in “privacy shutter.” In addition, the device has support for WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth BT 4.2 LE.
The early reviews or the device are mostly positive. Cord-cutters reviewed it favorably to Amazon’s Echo Show, saying that it’s a “fun secondary display” for cord-cutters and awarding it four stars out of five. Android Central likewise gave the device four stars out of five, writing that “Lenovo’s Smart Display elegantly transitions the Google Assistant onto screens, but it’s the elegant design and great sound that makes it a clear recommendation.”
Although highly popular among the tech community, smart home devices are still a niche product in the broader marketplace. But then, so were smartphones when they first came out and there are very similar parallels.
Google is copying a winning strategy that saw it dominate the global smartphone market with, in this case, an Android variant that anyone is free to use. Amazon does license its Alexa technology to third-parties as opposed to Apple Inc. holding iOS and its variants for exclusive use, but Google is well positioned to follow its success with Android smartphones in the burgeoning smart home assistant market.
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