Voice Control Heats Up with Lenovo’s Smart Assistant
With Amazon's Alexa Voice services built in, the Smart Assistant from Lenovo resembles Amazon's own Echo. According to Lenovo, the microphone component of this smart speaker has been designed differently to Echo allowing for better ventilation for the Intel Atom processor buried inside the device. There's also an additional microphone built in, for a total of 8 microphones as opposed to Echo's 7. Colours available will include Grey, Green and Orange.
While Bluetooth speakers have come along way in recent years taking advantage of better amplifiers, DSP and power technology, both Google's Home and Amazon's Echo have not matched the sheer output and sound quality of standalone speakers. Lenovo believe they have overcome this with a more expensive Harman Kardon model of it's Smart Assistant smart speaker to be released soon.
While Amazon Echo has not yet been officially released in Australia (currently only sold in US and UK and in a limited capacity in Germany), thousands of users downunder have already taken the plunge. StereoNET's entire office is voice controlled thanks to a combination of Echo and Dot devices from Amazon, ranging in functions from controlling our AC with Tado, controlling music from Spotify and operating lights from LIFX.
Lenovo say they will initially sell the Smart Assistant in their home country China in March (using AISpeech, a Chinese voice recognition technology), and the US from May (with Amazon's Voice Services). It is unknown when Amazon will officially support Australia, or when Lenovo will release locally.
According to Amazon spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall, Lenovo and Amazon have been collaborating for over a year. This joint effort may indicate that Alexa Voice Services may be integrated into other Lenovo consumer products in time.
The Smart Assistant will sell in the US for $129, a whopping $50 cheaper than Amazon's Echo, while the Harman improved version will match Echo at $180 USD.
Local pricing has not yet been confirmed.
StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers to headphones. Marc also founded Melbourne's International HiFi Show.
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