After Amazon and Google, it is now Lenovo’s turn to launch its own smart speakers. The company is expected to showcase the Lenovo Smart Assistant at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that kicks off Tuesday.
The speakers revealed at a pre-event conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday have the same tubular design as the Amazon Echo and have Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa built in. Lenovo says it worked directly with Amazon to develop the speaker.
The Lenovo Smart Assistant is not just similar to the Amazon Echo in terms of looks; it also works the same way. You will need to ask Alexa to perform different tasks such as playing music, reading out the news, setting timers, etc.
But Lenovo has also differentiated its product in some aspects. While the Amazon Echo comes just in black and white colors, the Lenovo Smart Assistant will come in light green, gray and orange. The microphone sticks out of the top of the device compared to the flat placement on the Amazon Echo. Lenovo says it has opted for the design to ensure better ventilation for the device’s Intel Atom processor. Also, Lenovo’s device has eight far-field microphones compared to seven on Amazon’s.
While Amazon Echo is connected to the Amazon Alexa app for setup and management app, the Lenovo device will be connected via a Lenovo app, which the company has built on top of Amazon’s interface. The Lenovo app will work on both iOS and Android devices.
One aspect where Lenovo has a definite edge over Amazon with its Smart Assistant is the speaker itself, at least insofar as its special Harman Kardon edition is concerned. The pricing for this high audio quality edition is not known yet, but the regular version will retail for $130. Amazon Echo currently sells for $180.
Lenovo’s Smart Assistant is expected to be commercially available starting May 2017.