Google is doubling down on its Google Assistant strategy for Android TV. The company and JBL today announced the JBL Link Bar, a soundbar powered by Android TV with Google Assistant built in. The JBL Link Bar will be shown off at the company’s I/O 2018 developers conference this week and will hit stores in “fall 2018.”
This is not a one-off device. Google explains that “Android TV is evolving to support new form factors” and that JBL’s is “the first in a series of hybrid devices that delivers a full Assistant speaker and Android TV experience.”
It’s no secret that Android TV has been a failure. This is partly due to Android TV’s various shortcomings and partly to Roku having a decent hold on the market, but it’s mostly due to Google Chromecast’s runaway success. Google has not tried to create its own device since the Nexus Q catastrophe of June 2012.
And maybe that’s OK. Since last year, Android TV devices come with Google Assistant, so users can find and play their favorite content with just their voice. Google won’t share Android TV device sales numbers, but the company today spoke about “new Android TV users doubling over the past year.”
If you’re considering a Google Home and your TV needs a soundbar, maybe an Android TV soundbar with Google Assistant isn’t such a bad idea. Plug it into your TV and off you go:
Just say ‘Hey Google’ to use your voice to binge the latest TV shows, search for the best movies, watch your favorite YouTube content, play music, and control your smart home devices, hands-free. The Link Bar can power your entire living room experience with seamless HDMI input switching with just your voice. Even more exciting is that you can use the Assistant anytime, even with the TV off — for music home automation and more!
Google and JBL did not reveal which markets will get the Link Bar, nor how much it will cost, saying both details will be revealed later this year.