1. CES 2018: Google launches Assistant-powered Smart Displays, rebrands payment services as Google Pay

CES 2018: Google launches Assistant-powered Smart Displays, rebrands payment services as Google Pay

Google at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 unveiled its new Google Assistant-powered Smart Display platform to take on Amazon Echo devices.

By: | Published: January 9, 2018 12:14 PM
CES 2018, google, google assitant, google smart display, amazon echo, google smart voice, google voice assistant, google play, google home, google devices Coming to Google’s payment plans, Google has decided to move forward with a new service called the Google Pay, which is essentially a combination of Google Wallet and Android Pay service. (Reuters)

Google at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 unveiled its new Google Assistant-powered Smart Display platform to take on Amazon Echo devices. The Google Smart Display platform will be a part of Google’s steps to expand its voice assistant to more hardware. Google Smart Display is essentially a platform that will enable partners such as Lenovo to manufacture their own Echo Show-like devices, featuring Google Assistant. In addition, Google also made an announcement that it will combine Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single brand, namely, Google Pay.

Interestingly, Google is not manufacturing the devices itself, like Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max. The Mountain View-based colossus has, instead, partnered third-party manufacturers to build these devices. Lenovo is one of the first partners that has brought this feature to fruition, with the devices available for demo at the trade show. Other partners include JBL, LG, and Sony that will be making their own devices.

The Lenovo-manufactured Smart Display comes in two models – 8-inch variant priced at $199 (approximately Rs. 12,700) and a bigger 10-inch variant priced at $249 (approximately Rs. 15,900). There are two outer coatings – a bamboo finish on the 10-inch version and a soft matte finish on the smaller 8-inch version. Lenovo also offers a stand along with the Smart Display to let you place the device in either vertical or horizontal position. Coming to the internals, the 8-inch version sports an HD display while the larger 10-inch variant has a full-HD display. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. The devices are expected to start shipping this summer, starting with the US.

The Smart Display is always listening to the hotword ‘OK, Google’ and takes commands thereafter. There is also a video camera given on the devices that enables Google Duo video calling. Apart from this, it supports basic Google services such as Maps, Photos, and YouTube. The Google Smart Display platform squarely targets Amazon Echo Show, which is essentially a display-based speaker powered by Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa. It’s worth mentioning that recently Amazon and Google locked their horns where they removed their respective services from each other’s platforms. While Google pulled YouTube service from Amazon Echo devices, Amazon stopped the sales of Google Home and its other products from its e-commerce platform. However, later both the companies offered an olive branch to each other.

Coming to Google’s payment plans, Google has decided to move forward with a new service called the Google Pay, which is essentially a combination of Google Wallet and Android Pay service. The Google pay will automatically take your Google Wallet or Android Pay data to let you make payments without any hiccups. Interestingly, Google is also planning to bring Google Pay online, in its physical stores, and across Google products, including the ones you use to transfer money to your folks. “With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind”, notes Google in its blog post.

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