in January, Google previewed a new line of products called smart displays. Basically a smart speaker with a screen, the devices are slated for a summer release. Unlike the
smart speaker, Google won't put its name on the products. Instead, it said in its initial announcements that it was partnering with four major manufacturers -- LG, Lenovo, JBL and Sony -- to give customers a variety of options.
Fast-forward to the second week of May and the Google I/O Developer Conference in Mountain View, California. Google announced the first smart displays will hit the market in July and showed off a few new features for the devices. Google's prominently featuring both the 8- and 10-inch Lenovo Smart Displays, the
JBL Link View
and the LG ThinQ WK9. The as-of-yet unnamed Sony smart display is nowhere to be found.
Watch this: 'Send my ETA': Google Assistant gets a lot smarter at I/O
It wasn't at CES either, but neither was LG's, and even the models from Lenovo and JBL were still prototypes that could only handle prepackaged demos. Now, the rest of the products are finished and LG's has joined the group. That just leaves out Sony.
Oddly, at a session discussing the development of the smart displays, Robert Ginda, Google's engineering lead of Android Things, mentioned their partnership with three OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Ginda has been working on the smart displays from the start, and he implicitly left Sony off of the road map.
Smart displays let Amazon, Facebook, Google show you answers to your questions
It's possible Sony is just waiting to unveil its model at a moment when it could stand out from the crowd. We don't actually know what happened to the Sony smart display. When asked for comment, a Google representative simply said, "we're showing the smart displays that we're launching in July and have nothing else to announce at this time." A Sony rep confirmed the company is still working with Google "on the smart display concept" but didn't offer any other details.
At the very least, it doesn't look like Sony's smart display will be ready to hit the market when the first models go on sale.