Chinese tech giant Lenovo announced Tuesday it was launching a smart home assistant powered by Amazon’s Alexa, becoming the latest firm to enter the market for voice-activated devices.
The new Smart Assistant, to go on sale for $129, will compete with Amazon’s Echo speakers using the artificial intelligence developed by Amazon.
Lenovo made the announcement ahead of the opening of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, which features a dizzying array of tech gadgets and concepts.
Built in collaboration with Amazon, the Smart Assistant “recognizes users’ voice commands to conduct web searches, play music, create lists, calendar reminders and much more,” a Lenovo statement said.
Lenovo’s move comes following Google’s launch of a similar device which can respond to questions and voice commands and connect to smart appliances, so a user can set a thermostat or turn on an oven.
“Our goal has never been to simply build smart home devices for the sake of advancing technology alone,” says Johnson Jia, Lenovo’s senior vice president for personal computers and smart devices.
“In the same way a person’s IQ is measured by applied knowledge, we believe products are ‘smart’ to the degree they’re actually understood and applied to daily life by their users.”
Steve Rabuchin, vice president for Amazon Alexa, said the US firm was “excited to work with an innovative company such as Lenovo to bring the Lenovo Smart Assistant with Alexa to customers this spring.”
The device is expected to be available in May.
Lenovo also announced plans for upgraded laptops, including PCs optimized for gaming.—AFP