Sony's smart speaker leads an onslaught of Google Assistant-powered kit at IFA

IFA 2017: LG, Philips, Panasonic & Mobvoi are building in Google's voice assistant
Sony has a Google Assistant smart speaker

It looks like an Apple HomePod, it acts like an Apple HomePod, it's... Sony's new $200 LF-S50G smart speaker.

The nifty device, which lets you control smart lights, music, thermostats and get news/weather/calendar updates by saying the "OK Google" command, is splashproof, shows the time in an LED matrix and has, what should be decent, 360-degree sound.

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There's support for multi-room audio and also a few gesture controls such as waving your arm over the top of the speaker to adjust volume or skip a track and Chromecast support for casting audio apps. Sony says it will work with YouTube, Nest, Philips Hue, Spotify, Google Play Music, Netflix and Uber to start. The squat, inoffensive speaker comes in black and grey finishes.

And we don't know much else about it yet. The LF-S50G will go on sale in October, two months before Apple's HomePod speaker arrives with Siri. We had a quick demo of the light and music controlling chat and it all seemed to work without a hitch, albeit with a Sony rep standing very close to the speaker and speaking through a microphone. It has far field voice recognition but at a trade show, Sony probably didn't want to risk it.

So who else is at it when it comes to Google Assistant? Panasonic has a smart speaker, the GA10 (below), a smart-looking aluminium Bluetooth speaker with a fabric mesh overlay.

Mobvoi, the Chinese company part owned by Google, has announced the Tichome Mini smart speaker - it will be portable, affordable at less than $100 and splashproof. No word yet on whether it will be available outside China but it's due in the winter, with seven colour options.

Sony's smart speaker leads an onslaught of Google Assistant powered kit at IFA

Both Panasonic and Mobvoi speakers connect to a Google Home and can be used in a multi-room audio set up. One more speaker - Anker's Zolo Mojo is a $70 smart speaker with two mics, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Elsewhere at IFA, Philips has been integrating Google Assistant into its smart TVs for 2017 and LG has added voice assistant control to appliances including washing machines, dryers and vacuum cleaners. In this case, you'll need to give the voice command to a Google Home, third party smart speaker or assistant on your smartphone. Basically, it's everywhere.

Catch up on all the IFA 2017 news this week in our hub.

Sony's Google Assistant powered smart speaker


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