Published: Thu, January 05, 2017
Technology | By Ramiro Moody

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Companies including Lenovo, LG and Samsung released products fitted with the intelligent assistant that made its debut in the Echo speaker, a voice-activated device that has already been sold to millions of people.

Lenovo's Alexa-based Smart Assistant will be available on shelves starting from May. Reinforcing that belief this morning is Lenovo who are out of the blocks early in Las Vegas with three new smart home devices in tow. This means these appliances will be created to respond to voice requests for tasks like pausing and starting a load of laundry, asking for the time remaining on a wash cycle, adjusting the cooking mode on a smart oven, and turning on maximum cool settings for refrigerators among other commands. This could mean the same smarts as the Amazon Echo, but with superior sound.

While the Lenovo Smart Assistant is similar in many respects to the Amazon Echo, there are still a few notable differences between the two. Anyone that's even considered an Amazon Echo will find the design of the Lenovo Smart Assistant Familiar. At the same time, Lenovo's speaker has the microphone part protruding at the top rather than blending in like on the Amazon Echo. Lenovo Smart Assistant has eight 360-degree far-field microphones that can pick up users' voice commands from up to 16 feet (5 meters) away.

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Design aside, it may be hard to see how the Smart Assistant is different to the Amazon Echo. But to one-up the competition, Lenovo is also adding enhanced audio experience with Harman Kardon. Either way, Lenovo is fully on board with its version that will be available in a variety of color options.

Lenovo will launch its Smart Assistant in May for $129.99, a full $50 less than the Amazon Echo. The prices of these devices will be $130 for the standard model and $180 for the Harman Kardon variant. Now if you want to talk to your DVR, for example, you can train your smart remote to respond to IFTTT triggers - not the most user-friendly of solutions.

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