Lenovo Smart Assistant is a cheaper Alexa powered smart speaker

CES 2017: Lenovo gets in first
Lenovo has a cheap Alexa speaker

What do you get if you cross an Amazon Echo with a Google Home? Basically, this, Lenovo's just-announced Smart Assistant speaker.

The $130 Alexa-powered speaker comes in Harman Kardon and regular editions, the latter of which we assume doesn't sound so great. It's a tall, Echo shaped smart home device but comes with Home-like styling with orange, green and gray colour schemes, as well as that lower, Home-like price.

Read this: What to expect at CES 2017

The features are pretty much identical to the Echo too: controlling music and smart lights etc, requesting news and weather updates, getting calendar reminders and making shopping lists.

There's eight far-field microphones that will pick up voice commands from up to 5m away, one-upping Amazon's own speaker, and it will need a Lenovo app for iOS and Android for set up. Inside there's an Intel Atom processor and on the top of the device, the mic section is slightly raised for cooling.

Other than that, it's the first of - we expect - many Echo-style speakers in 2017. The Harman Kardon partnership is interesting as we're already looking forward to seeing the first Cortana smart speaker, again with sound from Harman, now owned by Samsung. It's complicated but someone's making a profit here. Probably Amazon.

What we will see, though, is smart speakers in a range of prices, designs, form factors and with various voice assistants - a good thing.

Lenovo's Smart Assistant speaker series will go on sale in May 2017 so not too long to wait. The Harman Kardon version will cost $180, hold tight for first impressions from the CES showfloor.


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