Sony Intros Google Assistant-Powered Speaker, Costs $199

Muriel Hammond
September 2, 2017

The LF-S50G will cost $200 when it ships in October, which is $50 more than the Google Home but cheaper than the $350 Apple HomePod. Sony boasts that it can fill a room with surround-sound audio. As a comparison, Apple's HomePod will be priced at $349 when it launches in December.

Both tech titans made their announcements in Berlin to coincide with the September 1 start of IFA 2017, Europe's largest trade show for consumer electronics.

The Sony LF-S50G speaker comes in black, white and blue, all of which have a base respective of the main speaker colour. Only the Amazon Tap has a similarly water-resistant build. This isn't a feature I see myself using a lot, anyway, since I'd usually just tell Assistant to turn down the volume or skip to the next track.

Beyond that, you can do all of the great Google Home stuff, such as check traffic, listen to music, and even set remin...err, never mind, you still can't set reminders on Google Home. It uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless to connect to devices and the internet. This may make the unit more suitable for being kept on a kitchen countertop or in a bathroom where the occasional miscue could be disastrous for normal electronics. With Amazon Echo, you get access to tens of thousands of "skills", the mini-apps that start a game of Jeopardy or help you mix a cocktail.

Lenovo, on the other hand, launched an Alexa enabled speaker. It also has a LED display placed below the speaker net.

In a move being replicated throughout the technology sector, Sony joins the list of manufacturers offering a "smart speaker" device. Banking on the technology of Google's voice assistant, the entry of two giant names will definitely bring rapid growth to the market.

With the integration of Google Assistant, Panasonic and Sony will deviate from their respective brand strategies. First, Sony has incorporated a system of speakers that are comprised of a two-way system to provide 360-degree sound. The LINK 20 will be €199, with slightly more powerful speakers (2x10W) and five more hours of battery life. Google Assistant also did an impressive job with detecting voice commands despite the high level of background noise.

Called the LF-S50G, the speaker houses the same Google Assistant AI that runs on Google Home.

At a glance, this is a great alternative to Google Home, in fact, it's really putting Google to shame.

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