Amazon’s immense success moving Alexa devices during the holiday probably didn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the tech industry. It certainly didn’t come as a surprise to Lenovo — they’ve been working with Amazon to create their own smart home speaker, and they’re showing it off at CES 2017. The Smart Assistant is, essentially, a reskinned Amazon Echo, but there are some little details here that set it apart.
As you can see from the pictures, it retains the same shape as the Amazon Echo. That’s for good reason — the cylinder is an ideal shape for the 360-degree microphone array that makes these devices useful in the home. It’s the best way to make a big, round voice recognition range possible. Lenovo’s Smart Assistant won’t be much different from the Echo in that respect, either — the 16-foot voice recognition range is about on par with Amazon’s speaker.
The Smart Assistant runs on Alexa Voice Services, so it won’t function any differently than the Echo. Using voice recognition or the Alexa app, the Smart Assistant will act as a smart home hub, controlling various smart home devices. It can be used to set reminders and alerts, play music, or search for information, too.
Lenovo says the Smart Assistant will be available in grey, green, and orange, all of which will have a 5 watt tweeter and a 10 watt woofer. There will also be a black Harmon/Kardon edition available, which will have a 2″ deeper sound chamber for improved bass performance. The base version will launch in May at $130, while the Harmon/Kardon edition will launch at the same time for $180.
Lenovo is also getting into connected storage with the Smart Storage tower. This grey box can hold either 2 TB or 6 TB of HDD storage, and has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two USB 3.0 ports for wired data transfers, and an ethernet port for a wired connection to a router (no SD card slot, though). Like other connected storage devices, your personal music, videos, and pictures can be stored on the device, then connected to the home Wi-Fi network to make them accessible from any device in the home. A small processor inside makes it possible to stream content to another device or use Lenovo’s software to organize and automatically tag photos. It’s also possible to have your devices back up new files to the drive as soon as you get within range of its Wi-Fi network. Lenovo Smart Storage will only come in white, and will launch in May for $140.
Disclaimer: CES 2017 coverage is brought to you by Lenovo. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.