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LG's take on the Google Assistant-powered smart display is pretty boring

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Wiz's Google Assistant-enabled smart LED lights at CES. Voice assistants are increasingly being integrated with home appliances. Jae C. Hong  AP

At CES this year, we were treated to a barrage of smart home devices, some of which was powered by Amazon's Alexa digital assistant platform, and some of it powered by Google Assistant.

In addition, there have been a number of new start-up smart home automation companies embracing Google Assistant or Apple's HomeKit. Supported devices include all Klipsch DTS Play-Fi equipped speakers in the Klipsch Stream wireless multi-room audio system, reference RSB-14 and RSB-8 soundbars, Heritage Wireless speaker The Three, the RW-1 wireless speaker, and Gate the and PowerGate series amplifiers. 30% of smart speaker owners said that the device replaced some of the time they spent with their TV and 71% of people use the devices to listen to news and podcasts.

Users of the smart displays being unveiled by Google can not browse the Web or install apps as they would on a tablet, but the new gadgets are optimized for sound quality and listening to voice commands.

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Google is trying to make a splash at the world's largest electronics trade show, blanketing Las Vegas with advertisements and its share of new gizmos that can be controlled by its Google Assistant. Suddenly the device is more of a computer than an appliance.

One can palpably feel it in the air that Google really really wants the Assistant to take off and become more mainstream. Today, Lenovo has introduced its new Smart Display which is equipped with some of the most advanced technical features including Google's own, Voice Assistant. The smart display comes with Assistant inside and an always-listening feature to hear for commands. JBL, part of Samsung Electronics' Harman Kardon subsidiary, LG and Sony did not announce pricing and release dates. If you don't know how to prepare something, you can get step by step directions read to you or a quick query will pull up a YouTube video showing you what to do. The Smart Display has builtin Google Assistant to get things done.

And the market for smart devices is exploding, even with warnings that "the internet of things" is notoriously insecure. Google is looking to nab more of that real estate as well. Both Lenovo and LG announced touchscreen-enabled smart speakers with Google Assistant on-board, which is likely to make up for Google not making a Google Home with a display yet. That constrained consumers in how they used the service, Whitten said, with many just speaking in short search terms, much like the ones one would enter with a keyboard.

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