Sony's Speaker Looks Like HomePod, Works Like Google Home

This seems like the strangest use for Google Assistant, or at least I never thought of the Assistant being used to control massive party speakers, but I suppose DJs can benefit from voice controls, too.

Get ready - the robots are taking over, well, the voice assistants certainly are - and we're seeing more and more products feature the unbelievable smarts of online voice assistants. And that's more due to the Japanese OEM's expertise in building top notch audio equipment.

Sony has targeted October for the US release of the LF-S50G, a smart speaker with high-quality sound and the ability to respond to hand gestures in addition to spoken commands.

With the Sony LF-S50G, Sony is focusing on the audio quality. This means you'll never have to get close to it when you have raw chicken hands.

Sony originally planned to make a smart speaker equipped with a proprietary conversational AI developed through a subsidiary.

Nearly central to the LF-S50G speaker are LED lights indicating the time, while four LED circles appear above the time when Google Assistant is activated or listening. Rather than have us argue about whether it should have included Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana, a document filed at the FCC suggests the upcoming speaker will support multiple virtual assistants.

Google Assistant is one of the most powerful AI voice applications in the world, with the ability to tap into the company's impressive machine learning and search abilities.

A range of gesture controls also allow for stop and starting music and controlling volume, represented by a ring of LED lights around the top of the device. The LF-S50G is capable of responding to a multitude of voice queries your throw at it. The Sony LF-S50G is subtle in its design though, offering 360-degree sound so it doesn't matter where you put it, or which room you put it in. Furthermore, the driver is backed by a dedicated bottom firing subwoofer.

The new Sony LF-S50G features Bluetooth and NFC and it will come in a choice of two colors, black or white. However, it's not something you should go swimming with. Sony announced this morning that it will ship a $200 smart speaker in mid October.

The Panasonic SC-GA10 will go on sale in early 2018 but a price is yet to be confirmed.

Other products that have been launched by JBL include a new Bar series of four soundbars meant for home theatre experience at home in a price range of Euro 179 to Euro 749.

  • Joey Payne