With Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot, Alexa gained a display for visual interaction with its users. Naturally, it was prudent to expect the rest of the virtual assistants to follow suit. If you prefer taking to Google Assistant, you’ll definitely want to check out the JBL Link View, an upcoming smart speaker with an integrated display.
Shaped like a football that’s been sliced down the middle, the device is designed to sit on a table with the screen standing upright at a slight angle. Basically, it’s like a tablet propped up on a stand with better-sounding speaker drivers on either side of the screen.
The JBL Link View houses a pair of 10-watt speakers on either side, with a dedicated passive radiator to deliver a deep and rich bass sound. Naturally, we have no idea how it sounds, although speakers on JBL’s Link line (first released last year) tend to produce better quality sound than what you normally get with the current generation of intelligent speakers. It supports HD audio streaming (24-bit/96K), too, so it can play your hi-res music files in their complete glory. Equipped with Google Assistant, the device should be able to do everything you do with Google Home, from checking your flight status and listening to the morning news to controlling your smart home and loading your music playlists. You know, like every smart speaker currently in existence. Except, of course, there’s a display.
An 8-inch touchscreen display sits out front and center of the device, where it shows visual content in 1080p. It’s a reasonably big panel for a smart speaker, making it suited for browsing websites, reading recipes, and watching videos, the latter of which will probably look amazing in full HD. Basically, it can function as a tablet that’s designed to be set down on a table surface, albeit with the ability to control everything using Google Assistant, so you can quickly bring up cooking videos while you’re preparing food in the kitchen, as well as bring up a map when you’re planning for a trip.
The JBL Link View also comes with a 5.0 megapixel front-facing camera, making it capable of facilitating video calls. No word on other supported uses for the camera (e.g. baby monitor, video recording), although with the intelligent assistants trying to outdo each other on the feature front, we have a feeling its capabilities will expand sooner rather than later. It also has Chromecast built-in, so you can broadcast audio and video from your phone straight to the speaker, along with multi-room music playback in conjunction with other JBL speakers.
While designed for home use, the device has been reinforced to be splash-proof – something that might come in handy if you plan to use it in kitchens and other wet areas of the house. Dimensions are 12.9 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches (width x height x depth), so while it’s not small, it does make for a good size unit for use around the house.
No word on pricing yet, but the JBL Link View will come out in the summer.