A new smart speaker named LF-S50G has been launched by Sony. This was announced at the beginning of IFA 2017 currently being held in Berlin, Germany. The smart speaker, which has been developed to compete with the likes of Google Home, Amazon Echo and the upcoming Apple HomePod, uses Google’s voice-controlled digital assistant, Google Assistant.
The launch of a Google Assistant-powered Sony smart speaker comes in the wake of Google announcing that its voice assistant would be made available on devices made by third parties. To activate the Sony smart speaker all that users have to say is ‘OK, Google’. Besides playing music the Sony smart speaker is capable of controlling smart home appliances and answering queries. Some of these queries include asking for general information on the weather, news events or flight booking details. It will also be possible to check as well as update calendars.
Sony is banking on sound quality to be able to win over consumers from rivals by offering a more robust speaker system compared to Google Home or Amazon Echo. Apart from a separate subwoofer and a full range speaker, the smart speaker made by the Japanese electronics manufacturer employs a two-stage diffuser which is omnidirectional and this serves to send sound all around a room.
Some of the other features of the LF-S50G include gesture control and this allows users to control the volume or choice of a music track by just a wave of the hand. These gestures have to be made near the smart speaker’s top area.
Sound entertainment hub
The near-field communication and Blutetooth technology that is inbuilt in the LF-S50G smart device ensures that music playing from a smartphone can be streamed to the smart speaker simply by tapping. Devices running on both Apple’s iOS and Android will be able to use this entertainment feature. It will be possible to listen to the radio, podcasts or play music from services such as iHeartRadio, Pandora, Google Play Music and Spotify.
The LF-S50G also possesses an LED screen which serves a time display. The LF-S50G smart speaker is expected to be released in the United States next month and it will be going for $199.
Smart speakers were pioneered by Amazon three years ago following the launch of the Alexa-powered Echo. According to projects by market research firm Gartner the smart speaker market is expected to expand by five times in the next five years to reach a figure of $3.52 billion.