Sony Launches Google Assistant-Enabled Smart Speaker

Sony is joining Silicon Valley companies in taking a crack at the nascent smart-speakers and the connected earbuds markets. Sony has developed its own wireless smart speaker which it announced earlier at IFA. This smart speaker will run Google Assistant and will join a line of other speakers that have Google built it.

The Sony SF-S50G Wireless Speaker will be in direct competition with other smart speakers including the upcoming HomePod smart speaker by Apple. SF-S50G features a single full-range driver that fires up into a two-stage diffuser to produce 360-degree sound. That driver is augmented by a dedicated subwoofer firing down into the same diffuser to reproduce bass frequencies.

This speaker has a bit of protection by way of water-repellant materials on the casing. The device has an IPX3 incursion rating which notes protection from water sprays up to 60°. It would be great if this device had a level of dust protection as these speakers usually sit in a location for extended periods of time.

Like most smart speakers, SF-S50G allows to you play and control music from a range of services with a simple “Ok Google” command. As you might expect, you can also ask for weather updates, traffic info and more. You can also control other smart home devices such as lights and thermostats.

You can setup the Sony smart speaker using the Google Home app to connect the speaker to your home network. Also, you can use also SF-S50G as a Bluetooth speakerphone when paired with your smartphone. The speaker will also respond to gestures for starting music playback, controlling the volume, and skipping tracks.

 In addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity options, the Sony LF-S50G speaker can also pair with devices using NFC. The LF-S50G speaker supports multi-room audio controls. You can buy it in white or black options at the retail price of $199.99 (roughly Rs. 12,800). The company will start shipping the LF-S50G speaker in the United States starting October.

On the sidelines of the LF-S50G speaker launch, Sony also announced three new noise cancellation models in its 1000x earbuds lineup: wireless WF-1000X earbuds that would directly compete with Apple’s AirPods, behind-the-neck WI-1000X that Sony is targeting commuters with, and the WH-1000XM2 headphones.

The Sony WF-1000X earbuds has a 6mm driver, but the company promises dynamic sound nonetheless. Much like the AirPods, it also comes in a case, and taking them out of the case will automatically power on the earbuds and connect to the last device they were paired with. The case can hold up to 9 hours of usage.

 On the other hand, the Sony WI-1000X tops that with vibration alerts for incoming calls, and up to 10 hours of battery life. “The hybrid driver system with BA and 9mm dynamic driver units brings optimal sound quality to your ears and with a multitude of other sound features such as High-Resolution Audio, LDAC, DSEE HX and S-Master HX,” the company said.

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