Rather than build its own virtual assistant for a smart speaker, Sony is tapping into the power of Google Assistant. The company is debuting its entry into the category this week at IFA: the LF-S50G. Despite the lack of a catchy name, the device allows to you play and control music from a range of services with a simple "Ok Google" command. As you might expect, you can also ask for weather updates, traffic info and more. And yes, just like Google Home, the LF-S50G can be used to control other smart home devices like lights and thermostats. When you don't feel like chatting, you can just look over and see the time on the side of the speaker as well.
Other than Google Assistant built-in, Sony isn't discussing too many finer details about the smart speaker right now. What we do know is that you can pair your phone to the LF-S50G via Bluetooth or NFC and its splash-proof design means you can keep it in the kitchen if you so desire. However, Sony did explain that this isn't a device that you'll want to take to the pool, since the IPX3-rated gadget isn't fully waterproof. To set up the LF-S50G, you'll use the Google Home app to get the speaker connected to your home network. Chromecast built-in is here as well, so you can Cast your favorite audio apps over Wi-Fi.
In terms of sound, Sony says the LF-S50G beams audio 360 degrees with enough power to fill your kitchen and smaller living rooms. While we'll be eager to judge the merits of the speaker's audio quality, the company did say the "full range speaker" gives equal attention to vocals, treble and bass. Again, we'll want to see if that's the case when we spend some time with the LF-S50G on the IFA show floor. In terms of on-board adjustments, Sony's smart speaker can be controlled with touch-free gestures to adjust volume, skip tracks or start playing music.
If you're already hooked, Sony's smart speaker will set you back $200 when it arrives in October and you'll be able to choose from either black and gray color option. Of course, Google just announced that Assistant would be coming to a range of new speakers (and appliances) soon, so if the LF-S50G doesn't entice you, chances are you'll have a lot more audio gear to choose from soon enough.
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