Lenovo’s Smart Assistant Is An Amazon Echo Alternative

January 3, 2017, 7:33 PM UTC
Lenovo Smart Assistant

The list of devices that incorporate Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa has grown.

Lenovo unveiled a new smart home appliance on Tuesday called the Lenovo Smart Assistant that uses Alexa to field spoken commands to turn on the lights, play music, and create to-do lists. The new device adds to the growing number of household hubs that already includes Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home.

Amazon is letting other hardware manufacturers bundle Alexa into their devices as a way to expand Amazon’s reach in the emerging smart home market. Companies are trying to get as many people as possible to use their virtual assistants to capitalize if the technology becomes widely used for shopping, searching for information, and for third party services like booking Lyft rides.

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Later this year, GE Lighting plans to incorporate Alexa into a table lamp, The C by GE LED Lamp. Meanwhile, small companies like Jam have already adopted Alexa for its Jam Voice, another smart home hub.

Lenovo’s Smart Assistant has eight microphones to listen to user voice commands, which the company says, will allow it to hear from all angles at long distances. Customers will be able to buy an upgraded version of the device that comes with Harman Kardon premium audio speakers instead of the standard speakers.

Lenovo’s Smart Assistant, to be available in May, will come in several colors including grey and green. The standard version will sell for $130 while the one with Harman Kardon speakers will cost $180.

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Lenovo explained its entry into the smart home appliances by pointing to a Gartner study that says nearly 2 billion smart home devices will ship worldwide by 2019. The smart home market will generate nearly $500 billion in revenue that year, Lenovo says, implying that there is plenty of room for growth.

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