After months of speculations on Cody's part, the Assistant devices known under the "Quartz" codename were announced yesterday as smart displays and Lenovo unveiled the first one of the range. Google said that other companies were on board too, like LG and Sony, but another one is now also known: it's the JBL Link View.
JBL already has a few Google Assistant speakers in the Link portfolio, and the View is joining them with not only 2 x 10 W speakers and a passive radiator, but also an 8" touchscreen display that can show all the Assistant interactions like weather, calendar, cooking and recipes, as well as stream YouTube videos and make Duo video calls (there's a 5MP cam on the front). JBL also mentions that the material can be easily wiped clean, which I suppose will be a requirement for this product category, since many will likely place it in the kitchen.
The Link View obviously has Chromecast built-in so you can stream to it from your phone or Home and group it with other speakers in your house, and it also has Bluetooth, which feels like a legacy support option at this point, but it's nice to have it nonetheless. It seems to only come in black, unlike the Lenovo unit which was white and had a neat bamboo option on the back. The shape is much more oval too: it kind of reminds me of a JBL Playlist with a display stuck on the front.
No pricing was announced, but availability is expected in the summer of 2018 (such a long wait!) in the US with other countries to follow.
JBL® Announces LINK View, A Smart Display Speaker with The Google Assistant
Newest member of JBL LINK series provides users with a voice-activated smart assistant they can see and hear
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the launch of JBL LINK View, a voice-controlled, smart display speaker with the Google Assistant built in. The LINK View will join the recently launched JBL LINK series.
HARMAN, in close collaboration with Google, is bringing consumers the first smart speaker to incorporate the Google Assistant with a visual display. The JBL LINK View takes the listening experience a step further by incorporating an 8” high-definition display with a touch screen and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The LINK View provides excellent sound quality, and is ideal for anyone that consumes a large amount of content daily. Users can view pictures, stream audio and video, ask questions, scan recipes, and video call with family and friends, all with their voice.
“When we launched the LINK series last year it represented a major milestone for us, as the first voice-activated, multi-room speakers to use Google Assistant and deliver Grammy® award-winning JBL sound,” said Lou Schreurs, VP, Connected Home & Luxury Audio BU, General Management. “Research shows voice activated speakers are no mere novelty. Sixty percent of owners now consider them a necessity. By continuing to enhance their experience by adding HD display with a touch screen and a front-facing camera, people will find even more ways to make these speakers an important part of their lives, routines and enjoyment.”
The high-resolution touch screen and camera is framed by two front-firing stereo speakers and a rear-facing passive radiator, delivering JBL Signature Sound with rich, deep bass. Made with premium materials that easily wipe clean, and designed to have a small footprint to take up minimal counter space, the JBL LINK View seamlessly integrates into any room in the house. Users can set it up in the kitchen, and with the Google Assistant, follow along with a recipe, video call with friends, scroll through vacation photos, cast YouTube videos or connect the device to other LINK speakers for a multi-room listening experience.
"With smart displays, we're bringing the Google Assistant to a new class of device that deliver a fully interactive and visual experience. Smart displays can do everything the Google Assistant speakers can, with the additional benefit of a beautiful touch screen. They make it easy to watch YouTube videos, enjoy personal photos, follow recipes, control smart home devices and more," said Chris Turkstra, Director, Google Assistant. "We're excited to bring the LINK View to market with JBL and are committed to deliver a helpful, visual Google Assistant experience."
The JBL View will be available on JBL.com and at select retailers starting Summer 2018 in USA only, other regions will follow at a later date.
KEY FEATURES LINK View
The Google Assistant built-in
Chromecast built-in with multi-room music playback
Speaker output power 2 x 10W Dedicated passive radiator for deep, rich bass
HD audio streaming (24bit/96K) ■ HD 8” display with a Touch Screen
Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connectivity
IPX4 splash proof ■ Dimensions (W mm x H mm x D mm) 330 x 150 x 100 mm
* DISCLAIMER: Requires Internet connection. Controlling certain devices and features in your home requires a compatible smart device. For example, the query “Play ‘The Crown’ on my TV” requires a Chromecast-connected TV, and controlling devices like lights and thermostats requires compatible smart lights and smart thermostats linked to Google Home. Controlling devices such as coffee makers, baby monitors and fans in your home requires compatible smart plugs and/or switches. Subscriptions may be required to access certain content. Additional terms, conditions and/or charges may apply.
Notes to Editors
1 The Harman Voice Activated Speaker Consumer Research study was conducted by Futuresource Consulting Ltd in November 2017