When a tablet is powered by Amazon Alexa, it can function very much like Amazon’s latest Echo device, the Echo Show. At IFA 2017, Chinese tech company Lenovo showcased its tablet product Tab 4 with Alexa integration, along with a speaker accessory. When they work together, it’s hard not to relate them to the Echo Show user experience.
The paired speaker, called the Home Assistant, has a three-watt speaker and two built-in microphones with far-field detection that can recognize user’s voice three meters away. (Amazon’s original Echo has seven far-field microphones.)
By sliding the 8-inch or 10-inch tablet into the side dock of the speaker, the tablet screen will automatically become an information window for Alexa. For example, when asked about the weather, the tablet will show the information visually while the speaker plays Alexa’s voice answers; when the speaker plays music, the screen will display the artist and the title of the song.
The 300-gram speaker can also be used to charge the tablet and be an audio output from the tablet. The tablet will keep its functions whether it is docked with the Home Assistant speaker or not.
Some advanced features on the Echo Show, however, cannot be found on Lenovo’s device. These include read-along lyrics, TV and movie playback, video calling with other Echo users and viewing security camera feeds. However, video calling and viewing security camera feeds can be activated with some mobile apps on the tablet.
While the Echo Show is priced at US$229, Lenovo’s Home Assistant will sell for US$69 and the Tab 4 tablet for US$150. Shipping is expected to start in October in the U.S. market.
Back at the CES held earlier this year, Lenovo introduced a smart speaker called Smart Assistant with Amazon Alexa integration. Although the price was already disclosed as US$130, the shipping date is still unknown.