Besides showcasing innovative new gadgets, IFA 2017 is also an occasion where third-party manufacturers introduce their smart speakers powered by Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Harman, a Samsung-owned speaker brand, has announced a couple of new devices at once. Its first Alexa-enabled smart speaker, called the Harman Kardon Allure, provides 360-degree sound broadcast and its looks give a metal and tech-savvy feel. The Allure will be available for US$250 and shipping will start this winter.
Three other Harman speakers that have Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in, however, will be released under the company’s JBL brand. The Link speakers come in three different sizes – two portable and one large. They can be linked together for multi-room playing if users feel like to. The release timeline is scheduled to be this fall in the UK, Germany and France, priced at €169, €199 and €299 respectively.
Earlier this year, the company said it is working with Microsoft on a Cortana-powered smart speaker called Invoke. Product shipping will start this fall but the price hasn’t been announced.
It’s interesting to see the high-end Harman Kardon brand offer Alexa and Cortana devices while JBL goes for Google Assistant. Now the speaker company has a complete product line supporting all three major AI assistants in the market.
Aside from Harman, many brands decide to stand by the Google Assistant’s side at IFA this year. Japanese tech brand Sony debuted its first smart speaker LF-S50G powered by Google Assistant. Sony is known for making beautiful and quality audio products, making the company’s affiliation with Google more notable.
The Sony speaker has LEDs behind the surface, to show numbers that tell the time. It will be equipped with Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, along with Chromecast support and an IPX3 rating. The device will arrive in October with a US$200 price tag.
At the start of IFA 2017, companies including Panasonic, Anker and MobVoi have also confirmed that they will release Google Assistant-powered smart speakers later this year.