Google expands Assistant, introduces Smart Display.

Google Assistant is all over the place. It’s on phones, TVs, smartwatches, and even inside cars. Now, Google has taken a big step to expanding its Assistant to even more hardware today by introducing a new smart display platform designed for partners like Lenovo to create their own Echo Show-like devices.

Lenovo is one the first launch partners for these new Google Smart Displays, and JBL, LG, and Sony are also producing like devices. Oddly, Google isn’t making its own hardware like it did with the Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max. It’s leaving it up to partners to create their own displays in the meantime.

These displays are clearly designed to target Amazon’s Echo Show, which is interesting given Google’s removal of YouTube for that particular device. Lenovo is planning to make Google Smart Displays available in the summer. There are two models: an 8-inch version and a 10-inch model. The platform itself is a simple version of the Google Assistant that responds to “Hey, Google” and does all the Assistant stuff you can think of.

There’s Duo video calling support, Google Maps, YouTube playback, and even Google Photos. There’s smart support for looking up recipes to step through simple instructions, and if you get stuck on preparing a particular ingredient then YouTube comes to the rescue with video help.

You can select between the 8-inch or 10-inch display, but the real spec difference is just resolution with one running at HD and the larger model supporting an FHD resolution. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 chip powers the experience, with 2GB of RAM and just 4GB of storage. None of these specs really count, as this is a simple device that primarily responds to voice queries. It also doesn’t have a web browser, so you won’t be able to do anything other than what Assistant provides. Lenovo is planning to release both devices in the summer with the 8-inch model priced at about $199 and the 10-inch version around $249.

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