Lenovo Smart Assistant with Alexa is an Echo alternative

Lenovo has ensured that Smart Assistant will run Lenovo smart home devices as well as other third-party connected devices to ensure maximum compatibility. A special Harman Kardon edition of the speaker, which boasts better sound quality, will sell for the same price as the Echo, $179. Like the Echo, you simply yell out whatever questions or commands you want to Lenovo's speaker, and Alexa will tap into the same set of "Skills" to help where it can.

Whirlpool announced on Tuesday that its new home appliances will be compatible with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.

The Smart Assistant is a fairly uninspiring cylinder that will be available in multiple colors, but on the inside it's kitted out with eight 360-degree microphones that support noise suppression and echo cancellation. Samsung's Harman has chosen to use Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant inside a forthcoming smart speaker.

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Before CES 2017 fully kicks into gear, Lenovo has now unveiled its tubular speaker called Lenovo Smart Assistant, which comes with Amazon Alexa baked in. Soon, you'll be able to use Alexa to command your Hopper DVR, telling it to do things such as "Play the Warriors game" or "Find comedy movies".

The main one is price: The Smart Assistant starts at $129.99, which is $50 less than the Echo's going rate for a speaker of the same size.

There aren't any real surprises to what the Smart Assistant does; if you're at all familiar with the Echo, it follows the same script, in the same way that two Windows 10 PCs are identical (at least, before the manufacturer-imposed bloatware takes hold).

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The battle for the smart home continues this year, with CES 2017 being the place where many companies will unveil smart gadgets for your home.

The Lenovo Smart Assistant looks nearly like carbon copy of Amazon Echo (albeit crossed with Google Home with its coloured fabric base) and, courtesy of Alexa support, offers a very similar range of features. It is also available in a variety of bottom colour options - green, grey, black, blue or orange fabric. It comes integrated with facial recognition software that can be used to organise your photo library.

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