Given that the LG SmartThinQ Hub evokes the Amazon Echo -- both are cylindrical speakers with built-in smart home controls -- I'd have expected LG to compete directly with Amazon's popular device. Instead, LG and Alexa are becoming friends.
LG's upcoming smart home controller will integrate with Amazon's digital assistant, albeit in a limited fashion at first. Press a button on the SmartThinQ, and you can tell Alexa to add something to your schedule, play music, or check the weather. You can also give commands to Alexa via a remote paired to the ThinQ Hub, the same way you could if you have an Echo and a compatible bluetooth remote.
You can't use the limited version of Alexa in the ThinQ to control compatible smart home devices or do many of the other cool tricks Amazon's assistant can do. It's a strange pairing then, as using Alexa with an Echo device has lots of clear advantages to using her with this LG hub. In addition to all the extra functionality, the Echo is always listening, so you can give a command to Alexa when you're across the room or have your hands full.
If you're invested in LG's smart appliances, this Alexa integration is great news. But even with this pairing, I have trouble seeing why you'd want the ThinQ Hub over an Echo otherwise. No release date or price has been announced yet, so maybe those reasons will become apparent as the ThinQ Hub draws closer to launch.
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