Sony Jumps Into Smart-Speaker Market With Assist From Google

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It looks like an Apple HomePod, it acts like an Apple HomePod, it's.

The tech world has gathered in Berlin for Europe's biggest technology trade fair, IFA 2017 - and apart from the usual madness of autonomous moving fridges and robotic laundry machines, the main theme has quickly been established: connected speakers using existing AI voice helpers such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

Users can utilize motions to control the savvy speaker.

Panasonic, meanwhile, unveiled the GA10 smart speaker featuring a classy design and available in black or white. Its new LF-S50G incorporates Google Assistant and is said to have superior sound.

The top of the Sony speaker also supports gesture controls - A rotation of a finger clockwise over the top of the speaker will increase volume and moving in the other direction reduces it.

Sony's smart speaker, the LF-S50G, will be available in the United Kingdom from November priced at approximately £200. This rapid increase will result in 3.3 per cent of global households owning at least one device, with 25 per cent of them owning more than one. It also has an IPX3-rating and a water repellent coating so it can be placed in the kitchen or bathroom, as well as the living room or any other room you fancy it in.

Bluetooth and NFC support, in addition to the Wi-Fi connectivity Google Assistant requires, allows the SF-S50G to function as a Bluetooth speakerphone when paired with your smartphone. Obviously having Google Assistant baked in means it benefits from all the smart integration features Google Home would offer. The device combines a premium music speaker with Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Assistant voice controls and intelligent assistant software.

The Assistant-powered speaker will play you music based on your commands from services like Spotify, Google Play Music, and Pandora, let you know what the weather is like, and even answer any weird questions you might have.

Sony is planning to dispatch its own particular smart speaker in October with a sticker price of $200. A wave across the top of the device will skip a track and you can also use gestures over the top to adjust the volume too. Sony's speaker has a 360-degree speaker array, a downward woofer, and an upward tweeter encased in a splash-proof case. The speakers include a full range speaker, a dedicated subwoofer, a "damped bass reflex duct" and an omnidirectional two stage diffuser.

We've tested many Sony speakers over the years and have found quality to be mixed.

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