LG WK9 Google Assistant touch screen speaker makes mysterious CES 2018 debut

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LG WK9 Google Assistant touch screen speaker makes mysterious CES 2018 debut

LG is not entirely straightforward about the technical specifications of the WK9 either, merely listing on the Korean company's official USA website support for proprietary ThinQ Artificial Intelligence capabilities, "premium class sound" tuned by Meridian Audio, the 8-inch size of the product's touch screen display, and both built-in Google Assistant and Chromecast functionality. And they need to do it before Amazon's smart speaker lead becomes unassailable and the Amazon Echo effect spreads into other products.

For the moment, voice competitors to Amazon and Google remain largely in the wings. Amazon has also earlier launched Alexa Mobile Accessory kit, opening the gates for Alexa to headphones, smartwatches and fitness devices.

So, Google Assistant will be better with the time.

"Google's aware that the future is moving to a world in which most likely we're using devices beyond phones, we're talking to our devices", he said.

"That means "Alexa, ask Kohler to flush my toilet" is something you might end up saying in the near future", mused Blair Hanley Frank at news site Venturebeat.

At CES 2017, LG invited Amazon on stage at its press conference in order to showcase Alexa inside a variety of devices but this year, the honour of an appearance fell to Google.

These will, importantly, allow users to watch YouTube videos.

Breaking away from the confines of the typical Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, Google is already partnering with device makers like Lenovo, JBL and LG to make "Smart Displays" that allow users to pull up information by asking questions about the weather and traffic before they start their day. But its subtext is all about Google versus Amazon.

In addition, Bloomberg's sources claim that Google is working on a strategy to let consumers buy products and services using Google Assistant.

Both companies see the competition in existential terms.

One of the more eagerly covered gadgets of CES this year is a set of $1,000 (£740) smart glasses made by Vuzix.

More important than product push, Google's "VIP" presence at CES is also potentially a hiring gesture to poach developers, an analyst at Forrester Research told the Washington Post.

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