Updated Jan. 4, 2017 at 7:05 a.m.

Want hands-off control with better sound? Lenovo one-ups Amazon, Google

Published: 2017-01-03 08:17:00
Updated: 2017-01-04 07:05:30

Lenovo's smart assistant Lenovo's smart assistant Image 1 of 2 · Next Image…

Partnering with Amazon and its wireless assistant Alexa technology, Lenovo is rolling out its own "smart speaker." But to one-up the competition, Lenovo is also adding enhanced audio experience with Harman Kardon.

While Amazon Echo and Google Home are generating a lot of buzz with their so-called "smart assistant" technology (such as how much does a whale weigh commercial), Lenovo worked with Amazon and Harman Kardon with hopes of making a sound difference.

Thus the Lenovo Smart Assistant.

"Packing 360-degree microphones, the new speaker is designed to pick up users' voice commands from up to 5 meters away," notes The U.K. Mirror. WIRED points out there are eight speakers compared to seven for Echo.

Then there is the sound quality.

"Lenovo’s first foray into the [voice activated] field aims to remedy that shortcoming [of sound quality]," notes Wired.

And CNET offers a video review headlined: "Alexa breaks free in the Lenovo Smart Assistant."

Watch the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swHA_RA-JeA

Lenovo's smart speaker

Adds Mashable: "Lenovo has a smart speaker whose potential customers are easy to define: Everyone who wants an Amazon Echo, but needs better sound."

While Lenovo's speaker resembles its rivals, there are differences.

"[I]if you’re at all familiar with the Echo, it follows the same script, in the same way that two Windows 10 PCs are identical (at least, before the manufacturer-imposed bloatware takes hold). You can ask it the weather, tell it to play NPR, order a pizza with it, or hit up any of the thousands of skills Alexa has mastered," WIRED reports. "You can control it through the same Alexa app that the Echo uses, as well."

Lenovo's Johnson Jia, senior vice president, PC & Smart Device Business Group. said the company is aiming to help consumers become smarter in terms of using their devices such as with voice control.

"Our goal has never been to simply build smart home devices for the sake of advancing technology alone," the exec said, according to the Mirror.

"In the same way a person's IQ is measured by applied knowledge, we believe products are 'smart' to the degree they're actually understood and applied to daily life by their users."

The basic Lenovo device will retail for around $130. The enhanced sound package will go for around $180. Availability is set for May.

More smart control

Lenovo also unveiled a hand-held controller designed to make smart TV and smart home management easier at CES.

So, a logical question: How long before one smart assistant controls EVERYTHING?

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