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 link viiew
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.

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