JBL’s Link View smart speaker delivers Google Assistant with an 8-inch display and a front-facing camera

Samsung’s Harman group is playing the field, building smart speakers with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana.

JBL

Alexa, you’re no longer the only smart speaker with a display. JBL is moving in on your turf with the Link View, a voice-controlled speaker that combines Google Assistant with an 8-inch touchscreen. The View joins four existing but screen-free smart speakers in the Link line that also feature Google Assistant.

The Link View has a pair of 10-watt speakers on either side of its display, augmented by a passive radiator mounted in the back of its elongated chassis.  A 5-megapixel camera resides above the display and can be used to display photos, movies, and—of course—YouTube videos (hmm, Google’s blocking YouTube on Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot suddenly looks a lot different now). The speaker can also be used for video calls.

The Chromecast-compatible speaker can also be configured to operate in a multi-room configuration with other Link speakers. Users will be able to cast to the speaker as well as stream music via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It’s capable of decoding high-resolution audio up to 24-bit, with sampling rates as high as 96kHz. Clearly designed to be used indoors, the View is rated IPX4, which means it’s protected only from splashes of water. The batter-powered Link 10 and Link 20 are both rated IPX7, meaning they can be temporarily submersed in water.

Two things we don’t know about the Link View: Exactly when it will be available (JBL says only “summer”), and how much it will cost. Make that three things: We don’t know how it sounds (although the Harman Kardon Invoke sounded pretty good. We haven’t reviewed the Alexa-powered Harman Kardon Allure.)

A Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with a display could be a game changer for Google, and no one predicted that it would happen this soon. Your move, Amazon.