Sony's Xperia Agent smart home hub aims to one up the Echo

MWC 2016: Sony goes one better than the Amazon's smart speaker
Sony's Xperia Agent aims to up the Echo

It's only a concept for now but Sony's Xperia Agent smart home hub takes the Amazon Echo style assistant up a notch with gesture controlled projections.

The device, which can also be controlled by Sony's voice tech, includes a built-in rotating camera and a projector which can show images, weather and news alerts on your desk or kitchen counter.

Read this: Sony Xperia Eye is a face detecting wearable camera

The futuristic looking hub deals with showing you information and messages but it is also designed to hook up to other smart home kit you might have, such as controlling smart light bulbs and smart thermostats via voice. The demo also hinted at the Agent managing your smart home for you with "sensors and new techniques".

In our short demo of the Agent, we weren't able to hear the device read out messages or respond to voice commands. We did see the gestures in action, though - you can cycle through the projected info with a wave of your hand as you can see in the Vine.

It's not half as inconspicuous as the Amazon Echo which basically looks like a Bluetooth speaker but the Xperia Agent could be a family friendly hub for starting the day, controlling the home and sharing images. We're very intrigued to see where this idea is heading.

Like LG, Sony has plenty of fresh ideas at this year's MWC. Sony has been showing off the Xperia Agent concept alongside its new hearable, the Xperia Ear, and wearable camera, the Xperia Eye.

There was a separate Xperia Projector concept for displaying interactive projections on surfaces. Touch, voice and gesture controlled, it's designed as a kind of family play area. In time, we could see the Agent and Projector ideas converge into one smart home system.

It also announced a new in-car Bluetooth commander. The RM-X7BT will be available from summer 2016 and its features include voice activated navigation, music streaming and hands free calls.


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