This smart speaker hub has Alexa, Google Assistant, and a touchscreen in one portable package
The home smart hub war is currently split into two camps: Google vs. Amazon. That means it's Alexa vs. Google Assistant, Echo vs. Home. Both systems have their pros and cons, but as the tech has evolved, users have had to choose either one or the other.
Now, a third-party speaker system could give indecisive smart home owners another option: Clarity, a wireless smart hub with both Alexa and Google Assistant functionality. Its makers claim its the first standalone device in which the competing smart assistants play nice.
To sweeten the deal, it has a 7-inch touchscreen system running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, giving the hub some extra visual and textile functionality you won't find in the Amazon Echo or Google Home—at least not yet.
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It's hard to say exactly how seamless using the smart assistant systems are on Clarity compared to their native speaker systems. The hub uses the Alexa app, and current prototypes are based on Google Now, instead of the full-fledged Google Assistant. When the device ships, its makers claim it will have Assistant built in.
The built-in Android tablet could give users a whole new set of uses for their smart assistant-connected speaker. Skype, Netflix, and other screen-based activities are just a Google Play download away, and the speaker itself comes with 16 GB of internal memory, along with the option for expandable storage.
Clarity should be able to control just about any smart home system compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant—the hub's team touts connectivity to products from Nest, Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and others.
The hub's makers claim the two-pound wireless speaker can pump out around six hours of music or two and a half hours of video playback on one charge when it's freed from its hub, giving it some extra power outside your home.
The team behind Clarity recently extended its successful IndieGoGo campaign, so more backers will have a shot to get in early for a discounted $149 device before the speaker ships at $199 in June.
Clarity has been hyped to the tenth degree—its makers have claimed it's the first Alexa-connected product with a touchscreen, something Nucleus might take some issue with—but if it delivers on the concept, it could help to settle the Assistant vs. Alexa debate... at least until Amazon and Google strike back with the next generation of their smart home hubs.