At the CES consumer technology conference in Las Vegas today, Lenovo is unveiling its answer to the trendy Amazon Echo smart speaker — a speaker called the Smart Assistant, which packs Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. It’s coming in May.
Alexa has gotten inside more and more products, but not many outright speakers that compete directly with the Echo. Samsung’s Harman has chosen to use Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant inside a forthcoming smart speaker. And device makers may well come out with speakers that run the Google Assistant in the future.
The Lenovo system carries eight microphones, which can pick up voice commands from up to 16 feet away, Lenovo said. There is volume control and a trigger button, although the device has no dedicated mute button, unlike the Echo products and the Google Home. It weighs 1.67 pounds, which is on par with the full-size Echo and heavier than the Google Home.
The starting price of $130 undercuts the Amazon Echo by $50 and will cost you about a dollar more than the Google Home. A Harman Kardon edition with higher-quality sound will be available starting at $180.
The Harman model only comes in black, but the regular version will be available with a light gray, blue, or orange base. The Echo, meanwhile, only comes in black or white. The Google Home comes with a slate fabric base, and alternate bases in different colors are sold separately.