CES 2018: Qualcomm unveils smart home hub in partnership with Google

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Amazon's Alexa and Google Home are being built into a dazzling array of products including Lenovo's Smart Display that sits on a kitchen counter to show you recipes, cooking videos and just about anything else controlled by your voice and Google Assistant.

Amazon kick-started the market for smart speakers in 2014 with its Echo device, which included the Alexa virtual assistant. According to a new report, the search giant's hoping to turn things around with a retail site that focuses on Google Assistant products.

The tech giant's Assistant is also being added to more vehicle entertainment systems, thanks to Android Auto, where it enables a hands-free means of checking in on Google apps.

The problem with Google's new assistant is privacy.

In related news, JBL also announced the LINK View, another smart display device running the Google Assistant out of the box, although we don't have any info about its price either.

Affordable smart speakers saw a boom over the gift giving season, with Amazon Echo and Google Home featuring at the forefront of the "most sought" list.

Huffman also mentions that his team is working on adding additional customization options "longtime Google partners".

This year's CES is coming to an end. Both speakers can control your smart home, but the inclusion of the smart hub in the Echo Plus means you can control your smart home appliances directly, rather than through, for example, your separate smart light bulb control unit.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Whitten said he was toying with the idea of turning Alexa into a 2018 version of a Blockbuster store clerk, who can guide your way to the most popular movies, but also opine on what you should really watch instead.

And the market for smart devices is exploding, even with warnings that "the internet of things" is notoriously insecure. The main drawing point of this particular Google Assistant device, aside from its screen, is its 10 Watt dual front-facing stereo speakers.

When Lenovo Group Ltd chose to create an assistant-enabled screen last summer that would sit on a kitchen counter like a mini-TV, it turned to Google. Other manufacturers announced their own smart speaker products running the Google Assistant, or at least plans to adopt it. One of the biggest highlights in my opinion, though, is the ability to make calls on Google Duo, something that's just getting easier and easier. The 8 Inch variant of Lenovo's Smart Display is available at $199.99. You don't have to think about using your Smart Display.

The only speaker we've shortlisted without voice assistant integration, the JBL Pulse 3 makes waves for very different reasons.

Sure, other AI assistants had a presence, whether that was Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, or even Baidu's Duer. We have a feeling more OEMs will follow.

"We'll have to see how that works out", Google's Scott Huffman, a Google VP, said.

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