We know that Google thinks smart displays with Assistant built in are where the smart home is heading. And now we have our first real signal that it might start building its own smart display devices.
Rishi Chandra, Google's VP of product management, home products, was asked by Variety about working with partners like JBL and Lenovo (pictured) on the first smart displays instead of building its own Google Home-branded products.
He said: "It's an emerging category. I'm not saying we're not going to do it." Chandra also pointed out that Google's approach for the past few years has been to do both as well as hyping up Google Assistant as a "core part" of what's next in high end speakers too.
Now, that's not a product announcement and with Google I/O coming up so soon on 8 May, it might be a stretch to expect a Google Home smart display at the event. But it does show that while Google is making Assistant compatible with just about everything (non Amazon or Apple flavoured), it could also be trying to build the Google Home brand to rival Amazon Echo.
That's interesting as Nest is now back in the Google fold - and that's a strong tech and lifestyle brand itself. On Nest, Assistant and Chromecast working together, Chandra said "“I think we have all the pieces, we really do."
Back to smart displays and from what we've seen so far, the category could do with some more design spit and polish, perhaps more from where the Google Home Mini's form factor and fabric finishes come from. Don't forget, we're still waiting to see what Sony does with its upcoming smart display and test out the first batch of devices.
Source: The Ambient