The Amazon Echo has been a popular product for the retailer. One of the first home assistants, consumers were pretty interested in what it had to offer. While there was some confusion where people thought that Echo was meant to be similar to a smartphone assistant, a smart home assistant is really something different. A home assistant isn’t meant to give you directions, or find parking near your destination; it is meant to give you the news that you want to hear, confirm the weather, read back appointments.
With the positive response that Amazon received when they brought the Echo mainstream, other companies are finally starting to see value in their products that are similar. One of these is the LG SmartThinQ Hub. While the home automation system itself has been around for a while, this hub is an all new physical product that supports the system.
It is no surprise that LG decided to launch this product at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. While there wasn’t a demo device that was fully operational, here is how I can compare SmartThinQ and the Echo;
- Both devices can stream your music, and control playback.
- Echo is integrated with your Amazon account, and allows easy reordering of products with just your voice.
- Both products are designed based off of a cylinder-shaped speaker.
- Both devices can connect with appliances.
- While Echo has no display screen (it relies on the Echo app for more in depth interaction), the SmartThinQ has a LCD screen that can display things like the weather and emergency alerts.
- Echo comes in one color, black, while SmartThinQ is teasing both a black and gold option.
- The LG Hub will communicate with your appliances that are connected to their home automation system to collect data
This is just a preliminary comparison; as actual demonstrations aren’t yet available. I was an early adopter of the Amazon Echo, and I’ve seen it continue to add additional features as its popularity grows. I’ll be interested to see if LG follows a similar product strategy, specifically with things like using a wake word. The Echo can play music from other platforms, but its crown is using the Amazon Prime Music library. It will be interesting to see which music platforms LG adopts for music streaming.
The thing that will make or break this new item, though, will be price. LG is not offering a sneak peek at that yet. When Echo was released, Amazon offered it to non-prime members for $200, and to prime members for $100. It has since settled on a price of $180 for its full market release. If LG misses the mark on price, it can have a DOA hub.
Photo by: GillyBerlin