Lenovo Made a Google Assistant Smart Clock
This week at CES 2019, Lenovo announced a Smart Clock that features Google Assistant and will be available this Spring for $80. Wrapped in a seemingly identical fabric as the Google Home products, it appears to be an even smaller version of the already-small Google Home Hub for about half the price. Features that are available on Google Home are also accessible through the smart clock.
The touch screen offers users touch as an alternative to voice interaction when helpful. The Smart Clock also has a couple of built-in routines, like “Ok, Google, goodnight” which will turn off any connected smart lights. “Ok, Google, good morning” will turn on any connected lights, tell you the weather, news, and about your day.
It is Proud to be a Clock and Different from Other Smart Displays
There are three clock faces offered as a standard configuration and the device is not trying to be an all-in-one smart display for every room in the house. It does not include a camera. Users are also not able to play videos, display pictures, or see steps for recipes. However, there is a big focus on the functionality expected of a bedside clock.
The top of the device responds to touch so when an alarm goes off, users can tap the top once to snooze or tap twice to turn off the alarm. Turning off an alarm can even act as a trigger for a “Good Morning” routine. There is also a USB port on the back of the clock so users can charge their phone overnight. Alarm times for the next day will be suggested based on tomorrow’s schedule. Additionally, the screen on the clock will gradually brighten 30min before an alarm goes off, in order to gently wake up users. There are several different ways to turn off an alarm. Users can turn off an alarm with voice commands, by touching a button on the screen, or with the tapping options as described above.
The Smart Clock also works with Google-compatible smart home devices, allowing users to control them from the clock. One example of the clock’s compatibility is in the Nest Cam, users will be able to check their Nest Cam camera feed from the clock. The user interface is purposely streamlined to only show users information necessary when going to sleep or waking up. For example, playing music with the Lenovo Smart Clock will only show the song name on the screen, nothing else.
To Camera or Not to Camera, That is the Question
There will obviously be comparisons between the Lenovo Smart Clock and the Amazon Echo Spot which was also designed with the bedside night table in mind and has several clock-face options. A key difference is that Amazon is positioning the Echo Spot as another smart display with a smaller, round face. It offers video chat, drop-in, and video viewing options. That larger set of features may actually be a disadvantage for a device designed for the bedroom where some consumers are wary of installing a camera. The Echo Spot also has a list price of $129.99, about $50 more than the expected price for the Lenovo Smart Clock.
With that said, the features like slow wake-up, suggested alarm times, and routine triggers are all going to make their way to Google-powered smart displays this Spring. So, consumers that want a full smart display feature set with Google Assistant and have sufficient room on their bedside table will have access to the entire smart clock feature set designed for the bedroom.