Sony Electronics revealed on Thursday at IFA Berlin 2017 the LF-S50G smart speaker, integrated with Google Assistant. The feature-rich home hub will be capable of controlling your connected devices, play music and more. It launches this October for $199.99.
This year’s edition of IFA has served as a stage for tech giants to pick sides in the battle for virtual assistance around the house. Harman Kardon has sided with Amazon’s Alexa, whereas Sony and Panasonic have stood firmly with Google.
Apple’s HomePod with Siri, meanwhile, debuts this December on an increasingly crowded market with completion coming from all sides. To make things even rougher, Microsoft has partnered up with Amazon to allow Alexa and Cortana compatibility across Echo and Windows 10 devices.
— Sony Electronics (@SonyElectronics) September 2, 2017
Sony’s LF-S50G definitely looks like a HomePod
From the form factor to its core functionality, the smart speaker by Sony sure looks like it ripped off a page from Apple’s book. Its cylindrical design, colors, and focus on music make it seem like a very similar product, but there are some crucial differences.
For instance, while admittedly the LF-S50G will come in black and white versions like the HomePod, there will also be a blue edition that looks quite nice. The mesh cover, however, is removable and features a display that shows the time.
Sony has also made its home hub more versatile by including compatibility with other NFC devices and Bluetooth, as well as with other wireless speakers. This way, the music you stream in the LF-S50G can reproduce in other systems at the same time.
The LF-S50G has some cool features that make it stand out
However, that is not all that this Google Assistant-packed speaker can do. One of its highlights is that it features gesture control, which allows users to change songs and control volume with you a light hand passing.
If you want to skip songs, you can wave your hand one way or the other to go back or move forward. To adjust the volume, move your finger clockwise or counterclockwise above the speaker’s rubber top.
Sony has also enabled smart features like auto volume adjusting, which comes into action when the LF-S50G detects noises that would somehow cover the sound of the music coming from it.
This, as demonstrated by the tech giant in a promo video, is particularly handy when people are using their speakers to stream music at the kitchen and the sound of some appliance somewhat silences the music.
People can also “tap to stream” by just putting their phones close to the speaker, which automatically pairs with it and starts streaming whatever you are playing. The LF-S50G comes out this October and it costs $199.99.