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The Human Voice Takes Center Stage at CES

14 January 2018, 04:31 | Kevin Scott

LG Chief Technology Officer Il-pyung Park speaks to CNET in his first interview since getting the job. Sarah Tew CNET

201-lg-cto-2018-ces-interview

Another product category this year was smart speakers which were either powered by Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa, though it does seem that there were more speakers or devices with Google Assistant integrated into them.

Amazon's Alexa smart assistant was the quiet star of the show at last year's CES.

According to Qualcomm, this more powerful version of its platform (SDA624) can drive a Full HD+ display, capture 4K video and support Tensor Flow for on-device machine learning. This is perhaps due to the growth of services such as control of smart home devices and playing media - rather than being coy about speaking to a smart device the temptation is to show off the device and demonstrate it's capabilities.

Sure, other AI assistants had a presence, whether that was Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, or even Baidu's Duer.

A report in Bloomberg suggests that Google may launch a re-vamped online store in February, with devices featuring Google Assistant front and center.

Google, Lenovo, JBL have come up with a new set of devices named as "smart displays". Sony should join the Amazon Echo Show-challenging party as well sometime "later this year", provisionally keeping under wraps everything about its own voice-commanded, display-sporting smart speaker.

Google has made great strides with Assistant, but the search giant still has plenty of work to do to catch up with Amazon's Alexa. The Smart Display does not come with 4G LTE cellular network and it also does not have its own web browser.

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The partnerships are important for Google as it tries to catch up with Amazon in the new category of smart speakers that both play music and function as voice-controlled electronic assistants.

It is due to release in the United States this summer with other territories following later, but no exact date was given.

Alexa could get a bit more opinionated about media in the future, Amazon Fire TV VP Marc Whitten told Variety.

"Hey, Google. What's the weather in China next week?" a senior official at LG Electronics asked the company's flat-screen television equipped with Google Assistant.

You won't find a section dedicated to the Assistant apps in the Google Home app anymore.

Amazon kick-started the market for smart speakers in 2014 with its Echo device, which included the Alexa virtual assistant.



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