Lenovo’s new Google Assistant smart display can play YouTube videos

  • The 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display. Lenovo
  • Both models can be positioned horizontally or vertically. Lenovo
  • The touchscreen shows weather updates, recipes, YouTube videos, and more. Lenovo
  • The 10-inch Smart Display has a white and bamboo color scheme. Lenovo
  • One side on the back juts out for support. Lenovo

Google has its own family of smart speakers with its Assistant built in, but the first Assistant device with a display is apparently coming from Lenovo. At CES, Lenovo announced the Lenovo Smart Display, a slab-like gizmo dominated by a touchscreen that houses the Google Assistant. Much like Amazon's Echo Show with built-in Alexa, the Smart Display uses Google's digital assistant to provide weather, traffic, and news updates, connect to smart home devices, and perform screen-dependent tasks like video chats and YouTube streaming.

Lenovo made 8-inch and a 10-inch model of the Smart Display, with the main differences between them being screen resolution and color. The smaller device has an 8-inch, HD touchscreen while the larger device has a 10-inch, FHD touchscreen. The 8-inch Smart Display comes in a light-gray color scheme, while the 10-inch model is mostly white with a bamboo-colored back panel.

The 8-inch model has a slightly smaller speaker than its 10-inch sibling (1.75-inch versus 2-inch), but both are 10W and have a dual passive radiator. On looks alone, the larger Smart Display fits the best into Google's in-house line of smart speakers. But both devices have a sleeker silhouette than Amazon Echo Show, which may appeal to some customers.

The Smart Display is the first Google Assistant version of Amazon's Echo Show, allowing users access to all the digital assistant's features plus new ones thanks to the addition of a touchscreen. In Google's case, that means video chatting using the company's Duo chat app, traffic updates with Google Maps images, photo backgrounds using personal images stored in Google Photos, and the most contentious feature of them all: streaming YouTube videos. Also like the Echo Show, the Smart Display has just a few buttons: a mic-disable button, volume adjusters, and a camera shutter (for the 5MP webcam).

Amazon and Google have been feuding over YouTube for months now. Google revoked YouTube access for Amazon's Echo Show last year, and the following issues between the two companies led to Google removing YouTube from Amazon's Fire TV devices as well. While Amazon found some work-arounds for users to access YouTube (mostly through experimental browsers), those who use Amazon streaming devices haven't been able to officially access YouTube for months.

Lenovo is just one of many companies—LG, Sony, and JBL, among others—that have signed on to make Google-approved display assistant devices. Rumors abound that Google will build its own display-toting, tabletop speaker device for its Assistant, but we have yet to see that device come to fruition yet.

The Lenovo Smart Display will be available this summer, with the 8-inch model costing $199 and the 10-inch model costing $249.

Listing image by Lenovo

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