Google Home has had some problems of late, and when people are buying new voice-activated Bluetooth speakers (view our favorite speakers here), they are generally turning toward Echo and Alexa (by far the best-selling product in the genre last year). But a new product is trying to turn that tide, and we like what it has to offer.
The product is called the LG ThinQ, which is more than just your average Bluetooth speaker (see our Bluetooth speakers here). At first glance it looks a lot like the newer version of the Amazon Echo, and acts a whole lot like it, too. You can speak to Google Assistant and ask it about the weather, sports games, various online facts, and other similar tasks. You can connect it to your smart devices easily control devices around the house with your voice commands, too.
The 550-watt speaker can also play music or connect to your entertainment system for extra sound. In fact, it’s so similar to the Echo that it’s hard to see this as anything other than a direct competitor for people who are unimpressed with Google Home but want a Google alternative to Alexa.
One significant differentiator is that LG appears to be focusing a lot more on SmartThinQ, which is a line of LG smart products to be used around the home. This includes products like appliances, HVAC units, robot vacuums, and more – a way for LG to market all its own smart brand devices.
The interesting thing is that SmartThinQ is designed not only to work with Google Home, but also with Alexa. By creating its own Echo competitor, LG is essentially pushing the Home aside and saying, “We can do Google Assistant better.” It’s an awkward situation for Google, and another blow to the company’s efforts to establish itself in the modern voice assistant world (on the other hand, Google’s other smart devices are doing quite well).
We will know more about LG’s plans for the ThinQ speaker and similar portable speaker products after CES 2018. For now, keep in mind that the voice assistant speaker world is probably going to get a lot bigger this year!