Sony will release a HomePod clone that uses Google Assistant


Sony's new connected speaker, the LF-S50G, looks a lot like Apple’s HomePod. It works like a HomePod, too, except it relies on Google Assistant and not Siri. Sony compares its product to the Google Home and says it stands out in the home speaker market because of its sound quality, which make sense for Sony to say.

The device features a full-range speaker for vocal and treble notes, a subwoofer for bass, and an omnidirectional two-stage diffuser to spread sound across the room. It can pair over Bluetooth, NFC, or Wi-Fi, and supports multi-room audio controls. It's also splash-proof and is available in white or black.

Unlike the Google Home, Sony's speaker recognizes gesture controls to play music, skip tracks, or adjust the volume. I guess gesture controls make for a good alternative if you don't feel like shouting to your speaker during a party. The LF-S50G will be out in October for $199.99.

Multiple other Google Assistant-equipped speakers already debuted at IFA this year. Google released its assistant SDK in May to speaker manufacturers and followed up yesterday to announce three third-party devices. Anker's new Zolo Mojo will only cost $70 and likely won't produce the best audio quality available. Panasonic is also supposed to announced its GA10 speaker, but details are sparse as of publishing.


The template is out.

The template is out.

I wonder if you have any idea how long it takes to design consumer hardware. No way did Sony start working on this right after the Apple Homepod reveal.

You are right the template is out. It google template through, not Apples.

Why is there no mention that Sony’s new speaker can also play movies or YouTube videos directly on a Chromecast or supported TV. Just like Google Home can. The verge doesn’t want to show any great features that these speakers can do.

Instead the verge wants to compare it to Apple’s HomePod can do. Oh, wait many of the features of Apple’s HomePod have yet to be confirmed, plus the public hasn’t played with them yet. Sony’s new speaker will be available for the public before Apple’s overpriced HomePod.

This is Apple jumping into the fray after Amazon and Google have released the ‘template’.

This is exactly the device I need in my room. A really good decent speaker with Google Assistant built in! Oh and please be kind on the price Sony. I didn’t vote for Brexit

Its Sony.
So no chance.

It works like a HomePod…

God, I hope not. It better work like a Google Home. (which it of course will, another one of those articles comparing something to an unreleased Apple product)

who knew shakalakaboom will be triggered at the mention of Apple?

I’m pretty sure shaka is either an anti-Apple parody account or just JeffWPA undercover saying the opposite of anything he would actually say

What parts of your HomePod do you not like?

All of the parts, because they don’t exist in purchasable form yet which makes it ridiculous to call this a clone.

None of that sentence makes sense. Just say "I don’t like it because of Apple" because it’s the only thing I got out of your sentence.

You can’t objectively dislike something simply because it’s not out to buy yet, and saying it’s "ridiculous to call this a clone" because the HomePod is not yet in stores is ironic and inconsequential to your statement. The design is known and has been known for a bit. Sony will likely be doing low production numbers and they have an advanced manufacturing process (come on, it’s Sony) so if any company can do a quick turn around, it’s them.

It is a nice device though.

No, it makes sense because I literally can not like the HomePod because it doesn’t actually exist and I have not seen nor heard one in person yet. Don’t read too much into my comment.

RE: the clone part. Of course it’s consequential because there is zero chance that this product was designed from the ground up after the Homepod was shown (which was June 5, less than 6 months ago). If Sony can design and prototype something and have the supply chain in place for an October ship date there is no temporal way this could be a clone, I don’t care how good Sony is.

Are you honestly saying you can’t like something because you haven’t seen or heard one in person? I’m gonna skip right past the "doesn’t exist" nonsense because Apple has yet to create vaperware products, that it hasn’t been released is the inconsequential part of your comment. I can say I like a McClaren seen or driven one in person so saying you can’t like something — at least initially — is ridiculous.

Who said it was designed from the ground up? They very well could have designed the majority of it already (they iterate a lot) and just changed the outer cosmetics. That is extremely possible if the electrical components had already been sourced and cleared.

"Doesn’t exist" is a true statement. I’m not saying Apple is creating vaporware, but a product like this that is so heavily subjective and based on it’s ability to both hear/understand and play audio can not be evaluated on anything other than its looks at this point, which are somewhat irrelevant to actually liking a product other than to say "it doesn’t offend my taste". I can say that I like the look of the Homepod (I don’t actually but that’s beside the point) but I may hate the product because it doesn’t work well or sound good. I won’t know until, at minimum, one person posts a review of its functionality but preferably I get to experience it in person. In your analogy, the McClaren is different because it is a product which people own, have experienced, and written quantitative reviews on. Even with all of that I would say the best you could personally do is like the idea of a McClaren. You have no idea if you’d actually enjoy owning one and driving it on a regular basis. McClaren is kind of a bad example though. A better example would have been an attainable but unreleased car.

Regarding the product production, your theory is certainly possible however there’s only so much that can be changed "cosmetically" on these devices in a short order. Hardware integration starts at the beginning and many times components are crammed into a physical enclosure the only possible way it will work. Additionally, with something audio focused, the physical design will in many ways be dictated by where and how the microphones and speakers are physically located which (for best performance) are dictated by physical laws that cannot be easily changed at the last minute. Now, if this thing were the size of a bowling ball then sure I would say they just slapped an enclosure on the design but that is not the case here and I wouldn’t say a complete cosmetic redesign is "extremely possible".

I still disagree with your statement that it "doesn’t exist", and I say this simply because it was announced, the audio was tested for a select audience (though admittedly, not the final product), it has a release window and a price point. Unlike the "iPhone8" which, even though we all know is coming, is not announced and is a proper example of a product that "doesn’t exist" yet. I agree it is difficult to gauge the quality of it (and I obviously don’t hold that against your judgement) but my issue is the idea it "doesn’t exist" is still incorrect; especially in the context this all started in — that because it "doesn’t exist", it can’t be cloned and to that I disagree — especially in reference to a device with an equal level of existence. It may seem like semantics, but it was the point of my initial comment.

As far as the industrial design and manufacturing go, it really depends on who the company is. Sony in particular really is a company who both understands the importance of design as well and hardware components and I really think there is room to manoeuvre for external cosmetics (ie: the ball of yarn) if the general shape was already cylindrical to being with. I have played a role in industrial design myself and know some aspects are locked early (due to component contracts and other requirements, such as acoustics) but others are still on the table until a month or so before mass assembly.

Regardless of all of this I still think it is the nicer Google home product I’ve seen and if it sounds better than the Home (which is a low bar, IMHO) it should be very successful.

Regardless of all of what you said, multiple companies had released "ball of yarn" form factors (UE, JBL, etc) prior to the announcement of the HomePod so to say that everyone making a similar form factor is copying Apple is disingenuous.

I can appreciate that but in this context — and this conversation — that’s moving the goal post. It wasn’t a clone because at first it "didn’t exist" and now it’s not a clone because other companies have done it.

Not really "moving the goalpost". Both statements support the same argument in different ways.

Apple’s HomePod CANNOT play podcasts, music, movies or YouTube videos directly to your TV. Sony’s new speaker and Google’s Home can. Not to mention a number of TV’s ship today with Chromecast support built in. Like TV’s from Sony, Toshiba, and others.

Apple’s HomePod CANNOT play podcasts, music, movies or YouTube videos directly to your TV.

You’re right — it’s a speaker. The point of the speaker is sound. Now if the Speaker is connected to, say… an apple TV or an amp connected to the TV, then it can. Lots of devices also ship with Airplay connectivity so I don’t really see the difference. they are both solid options depending on where your content is.

I’m not saying this is a bad device — in fact, I said in the comment you replied to that it was a nice device, it just took some design cues which is not a bad thing.

Do you really think it’s unreasonable to call this a clone, even though it looks almost identical to a device that was announced and shown off more than two months ago?

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