Amazon was the first company to mainstream smart speakers, the success of which rely heavily on Alexa, its built-in virtual assistant. Lenovo, who has always been stronger on the hardware side of things, has taken advantage of this and put its own spin on the tech. The Lenovo Smart Assistant is a smartspeaker that is both cheap but effective.
Lenovo admittedly does not have the same type of tech as Amazon, which is exactly why the Chinese tech company has installed Alexa in the Lenovo Smart Assistant instead. The same was introduced last Tuesday at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The new smart speaker in the market, as noted by Business Insider, acts very much like the Amazon Echo.
The Lenovo Smart Assistant activates with a wake word and users can tap into the thousands of skills that Alexa already has in its arsenal. It is roughly the same shape and size of the Echo as well, with its cylindrical design. However, it takes after the Google Home - another steady player in the market - in terms of look, as the device has fabric material on the lower half that comes in several colors.
However, the Lenovo Smart Assistant is a better speaker than the Amazon Echo. This benefit over the original is something that the company is exploring, as it is launching a model in partnership with audio company Harman Kardon. The base variant of the smartspeaker costs US$129.99, but the upgraded version will cost US$180 once it hits the market.
As Fortune notes, Lenovo decided to tap into this relatively infant tech subgroup because reports have indicated a steady growth in demand. The company quoted a Gartner study that claims nearly 2 billion smart home devices will ship internationally by 2019. In two years, the smart home market is expected to generate over US$500 billion in revenue - and Lenovo understandably wants a piece of that.