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JBL Link View puts Google in stereo speakers and a screen at CES

The JBL Link View focuses on sound quality with an 8-inch screen imbued with Google Assistant's smarts.


Editors' Note, August 1st, 2018: The JBL Link View is now available for preorder on the company's site. It's expected to ship on September 3rd and will cost $250. Check out the details of the announcement here. Internationally availability is still unknown. The earlier version of this story follows. 

With two 10-watt stereo speakers, the JBL Link View looks like it'll have a smart display and actually sound good. With new competitive smart speakers from big brands such as Lenovo, Sony and LG all debuting at CES, JBL will rely on its background in affordable speakers to stand out in the blossoming smart display category.

Smart displays like the Amazon Echo Show ($85 at eBay) combine the functionality of an always-listening smart speaker like the Amazon Echo with some of the touchscreen functionality of a tablet. The JBL Link View has an 8-inch touchscreen with Google Assistant built in, so it should have smarts similar to the Google Home ($99 at Walmart).

Now playing: Watch this: Amazon Echo Show review: Alexa's new touchscreen needs...

As with a Google Home, you'll be able to give voice commands to the Link to control your smart home, add an entry to your calendar, search the internet or access any of Google Assistant's growing roster of abilities. Beyond what the Google Home can do, the screen on the Link View will allow you to make video calls, and you can watch videos or see info when you ask a question. For instance, it can show cooking videos as you cook, or a map when you ask for driving directions.

The Link View should have roughly the same smart capabilities as the other Google Assistant-equipped smart displays launched at CES, so the Link View will need to stand out with hardware. The stereo speakers on either side of the screen could help if they sound noticeably better than the competition.

JBL hasn't announced a price for the Link View yet. It'll hit stores in the US this summer around the same time as the Lenovo Smart Display. JBL's screen will launch overseas at a later date.

We're a long way from knowing which of the four new Google Assistant-equipped smart speakers will be the best, but if you want an alternative to the Amazon Echo Show, you'll soon have lots of options. 

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

CES 2018: CNET's complete coverage of tech's biggest show.

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