LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display Now Listed, But Not Yet Available
LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display is now listed on LG’s website and appeared online from at least one U.S. retailer. According to LG’s website, the list price will be $299 for the device that includes “Meridian tuned speakers,” but is currently discounted by $100 presumably for Black Friday. Liliputing was the first to spot that B&H Photo is listing the device at $196.99. However, the website is only capturing email addresses to notify consumers when the device is available for sale. So, it’s not clear whether this will suddenly become available for pre-order or sale online starting tomorrow or if the company simply wanted to raise awareness in advance of Black Friday when consumers are attuned to new product announcements.
One area where this device stands out is in the length of its name. Competing products include names such as Amazon Echo Show, JBL Link View, Lenovo Smart Display, Facebook Portal and Google Home Hub. LG managed to cram seven elements into its product name with only two representing actual words. The product naming committee deserves a gold star.
Key Product Features
The WK9 features are largely comparable to previously released smart displays. It has an 8-inch display which is now among the smaller options available. A full range of Google Assistant Actions are accessible through the device and the display can be used for video chat, YouTube, and feeds from security cameras. LG also promotes access to LG appliances using Google Assistant.
It appears that LG is hoping to differentiate based on sound quality. “Meridian Sound Quality” is listed in the top-level product description and in the first three feature highlight strips on the product page. In addition to connecting to music sources directly from Google Assistant, the device also enables Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music from your smartphone.
Entering a Crowded Market
It’s hard to believe that we now must consider smart displays a crowded market. In 2017, Amazon had the only two offerings available, Echo Show and Echo Spot. Google, Facebook, Lenovo, and JBL have all entered the market in 2018 while Amazon has updated its Echo Show to a 2nd generation edition. It is not clear how motivated consumers will be about this smart speaker segment, but right now it appears that JBL and LG are vying to be viewed as the devices with the best sound quality. So, even though these are smart displays, the core feature is audio. This contrasts with Facebook’s decision to focus on video chat, Google’s focus on smart home, and Amazon positioning Echo Show this year as a kitchen television replacement.