IFA 2017: Sony's Google Assistant smart speaker is splashproof

IFA 2017: Sony's Google Assistant smart speaker is splashproof

The reason for music being the battleground in the smart-speaker market was outlined by Scott Huffman, VP engineering at Google and responsible for Google Assistant, talking exclusively to WIRED Germany.

The rumours were true after all, as Sony finally did introduce the world to its first smart speaker at the IFA.

Sony has unveiled a new voice-controlled smart speaker created to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Sony and Apple devices will compete with Amazon Echo devices, which range in price from $50 to $230, and the Google Home speaker, which costs $129. Only a day later, one of them has already been revealed by Sony.

With the Sony LF-S50G, Sony is focusing on the audio quality. You need a reliable WiFi and the Google Home app installed on your smartphone to get started.

Sony originally planned to make a smart speaker equipped with a proprietary conversational AI developed through a subsidiary.

With the integration of Google Assistant, Panasonic and Sony will deviate from their respective brand strategies. All of the three new speakers come integrated with Google Assistant, and are part of Google's announced lineup of third party smart speakers.

We were given a heads up that more products will arrive with built-in Google Assistant.

This feature will support both Android and Apple's iOS, Sony said.

The LF-S50G is activated using the command "OK, Google" and can answer queries and control smart home appliances as well as play music. The LF-S50G is capable of responding to a multitude of voice queries your throw at it. According to Sony, the speaker offers a 360-degree audio experience and has enough power to "comfortably fill the average room with sound".

The Sony LF-S50G Wireless Speaker boasts of a dedicated subwoofer, omnidirectional two stage diffuser, NFC, Bluetooth Wireless Technology, and an IPX3 splash-proof design. However, it's not something you should go swimming with.

The new speaker also supports gesture control, with users able to control song choice and volume by waving their hand closely over the top of the device. Besides Amazon and Google, whose smart speakers make up most of the models currently sold, later this year we will see new versions of the product launched from Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and now Sony. It will go on sale in the USA only this autumn.

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