Google Home has proven to be a massive hit, but aside from better speakers and smaller designs, the form factor for Assistant speakers has largely remained unchanged between various releases. Now though, Lenovo is switching things up with the “Smart Display,” a new Home-esque device with a touchscreen…

The Lenovo Smart Display packs either an 8-inch or 10-inch touchscreen display that runs new software to display the Google Assistant and data it pulls up. Just like a Google Home, the Lenovo Smart Display has always-listening functionality, meaning that once you say “Hey Google,” it will listen to your command.

On a typical Home speaker, that would include things like listening to music, reading off your calendar, telling you the weather, and things like that. The Smart Display can, of course, do all of this, but has added functionality.

For example, asking for your Calendar events can actually show them on the screen (like the normal Home is eventually supposed to do on Chromecast), and asking for directions pulls up an interactive map on Google Maps.

Lenovo has built the Smart Display on top of Qualcomm’s new Home Hub Platform with a Snapdragon 624 SoC. It also has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as a 10W speaker for music and videos.

Picture Dad in the kitchen making a new dish for a dinner party. Hands coated in marinade and dinner guests arriving soon, he asks the Google Assistant on his Lenovo Smart Display to show a YouTube video tutorial of the recipe. Just like that, a world-famous celebrity chef appears – in Full HD video along with a 10-watt full-range speaker – to help guide Dad through the cooking step by step.1 With the Google Assistant, the Lenovo Smart Display is a singular command hub for your connected smart home devices, including those through Nest® and other manufacturers from lighting to heating and more – all with just your voice or touch.

One of the biggest highlights of the Smart Display is its integration with Google Duo. Using Google’s underrated video calling service, users can easily call their friends or family with just their voice, and the video works in both portrait and landscape orientations.

The design of the Smart Display is also something that should fit well in most homes. The thin profile of the 8-inch or 10-inch device means it won’t take up too much room on the countertop, and the Soft Grey or Bamboo designs should fit well in most rooms, especially the kitchen.

When not actively in use, the Smart Display can also double as a digital photo frame with images picked from Google Photos.

Lenovo is showing off the Smart Display this week at CES 2018, and we’ll be there to check it out. If you’re interested in picking one up, sales will kick off in “early summer.” The 10-inch model will cost $249 while the smaller 8-inch model will run just $199.

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Ben Schoon

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