Featured Opinion

Google Assistant-enabled Smart displays: the future of voice computing?

Smart display seems to be the next big thing in voice computing, and major tech companies like Google are not leaving anything on the table. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Google unveiled a suite of smart displays – essentially smart speakers with native screens – powered by Google Assistant. It’s not a Google Home featuring a screen. Far from it. We’re talking about the Lenovo Smart Display, which debuted alongside other similar products from Sony, JBL, and LG at the event.

What Smart Display Can Do

At first glance, a smart display might just look like a typical smart speaker equipped with a screen. However, the device can do more than what Google Home or Amazon Echo can. To a certain degree, a smart display does what a speaker has already been doing like playing music. However, it extends your experience to the screen by allowing you to watch videos or start video calls using your voice.

Specs

The Lenovo Smart Display has two variants with different screen sizes: one with an 8-inch display and the other with a 10-inch screen. It has a plastic framing on the front and a bamboo back. It can sit on your kitchen counter to conveniently display information you need, thanks to its wedge shape. Inside, it runs Android Things, an Android build that’s meant for the Internet of Things devices.

The JBL Link View, meanwhile, includes an 8-inch touchscreen powered by Google Assistant. Additionally, it comes with a 5-megapixel camera and two 10W stereo speakers on the front with a passive radiator at the back to provide a rich bass. The LG ThinQ Google Assistant comes with an 8-inch touch display and a front-facing camera.

The Future of Voice Computing

Chris Turkstra, director of Google Assistant, said the voice-controlled display is born out of the idea that people will someday interact with technology through smart displays. More specifically, the Lenovo Smart Display demonstrated its ability to help operate smart gadgets at home, look for directions or check your calendar.

It remains to be seen, however, how this type of new technology will capture the market, though it’s hard to rule out that possibility given the success of voice-enabled smart speakers. It is on this premise that a number of tech companies like Lenovo are trying to deepen their stake in this emerging tech segment, believing smart displays are the next logical successor to smart speakers.

With a potential competition from Amazon, which unveiled a similar device called the Echo Show last year, advancement of this kind of technology is expected to accelerate over the next few months or years.