LG Patents Suggest Smart Speaker Launch Imminent
LG may debut a new Google Assistant-equipped smart speaker at the IFA 2019 tech trade show in Berlin this week. Patents filed by LG a year ago and first uncovered by the Dutch Lets Go Digital include four smart speaker designs, and LG has previously used IFA as a venue to showcase new audio hardware.
LG’s Future smart speaker Patents
The four patents were filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPRIS) in August of 2018. While there’s no hard timeline between a patent filing and a product launch, the completeness of the patent designs is suggestive. One year later at a major tech expo would be a logical time to unveil the new creation.
The patents show a variety of new looks for smart devices. Model A is the main smart speaker patent. The device looks like a more sharply angled version of the LG ThinQ WK7 that the company rolled out at CES in early 2018. The patent says there will be a small display embedded in the device somewhere, so it won’t be technically be only a smart speaker. The other three patents are much more obviously smart displays, with screens front and center. Two of the designs show thin, almost flat screens, but the third places the screen over a relatively large speaker system.
Even if the smart speaker does not make its first appearance at IFA, LG is still expected to bring out a dual-screen smart display, the LG V60 ThinQ, the next generation of the LG XBOOM ThinQ that came out in late 2018.
LG Picking Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
LG has long had a relationship with Google Assistant. The voice assistant is part of most of its range of phones and Internet of Things ecosystem. There have been some signs that Amazon wants Alexa to compete with Google Assistant in this space. LG and other manufacturers have been slowly adding Alexa-enabled phones to their lineup, and adding Alexa to its smart TVs. When it comes to smart speakers and smart displays however, LG is still firmly in the Google camp, if only because there’s only one non-Amazon maker of Alexa-enabled smart speakers. Whether the patents, and the new lineup of LG smart speakers they represent will shift the competition is what expo attendees will be keen to learn.