LG goes after Amazon Echo with its new SmartThinQ hub


CES 2016 is just around the corner and we’ll have a full crew on-site delivering the latest news on fresh products coming out of Las Vegas. LG has kicked off the event early, quietly releasing details on a new Smart Home Hub that is eerily similar to Amazon Echo. The SmartThinQ Hub has a familiar design with a handful of features and an eye on knocking off established names in this category.

LG’s tall, cylindrical hub could be described as a copy-cat design of Amazon Echo. The most notable difference is the inclusion of a 3.5-inch display on top that adds touchscreen functionality. A feature that Amazon Echo lacks. LG has packed the SmartThinQ Hub with all the typical sensors that smart home users have come to expect including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The new platform communicates via the ZigBee protocol, which is a common standard amongst smart home devices.

There is an accompanying app for iOS and Android that offers full control over the system and attached devices. Like Amazon Echo, LG’s new hub has a built-in speaker that can be used with iHeartRadio or to stream any service from your device over Bluetooth. Aside from ZigBee support, LG is hooked into the AllJoyn open source framework and has developed a partnership with Lowe’s for use with its Iris line of products.

Notifications and other information are shown on the display as they come in. There isn’t much in the way of examples for use in LG’s initial press release. We expect to see a demo at CES next month. LG has developed its SmartThinQ platform to include “washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, robotic vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and a variety of sensors.” If LG is to make a splash in this product category in 2016 it will have to find a niche amongst well known names like Nest and Apple’s HomeKit platform.

At this point, we know that the hub will be available in champagne gold and black. Pricing has yet to be released. It’s no surprise that LG is attempting to slide into this space with an all-in-one smart home hub and speaker. Amazon Echo was amongst the best-selling gifts this holiday season and is currently backordered through most of January. It’s yet to be seen if LG can find that level of success.

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SEOUL, Dec. 30, 2015 — LG Electronics (LG) will unveil its newest addition to its IoT ecosystem, SmartThinQ™ Hub, at CES 2016. LG SmartThinQ Hub serves as a gateway to smart sensors and connected appliances in the home but is more than that, with the ability to display reminders from personal calendars and stream music from its built-in speaker. The elegantly designed SmartThinQ Hub includes a 3.5-inch color LCD display and connects to a smartphone app to facilitate two way communication with smart appliances and smart sensors in the home.

The SmartThinQ Hub expands LG’s SmartThinQ platform to monitor and control home appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, robotic vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and a variety of sensors. The SmartThinQ Hub plays a central role in LG’s smart home platform by collecting information from smart appliances as well as conventional devices connected to SmartThinQ sensors via Wi-Fi, Zigbee and Bluetooth. Data is displayed in the form of notifications on the LCD screen or announced through its embedded speaker, acting as the central “hub” of the smart home.

As like all other LG home appliances and consumer products, the LG SmartThinQ Hub is designed to look great in the home. The unit features a metallic body in two attractive color schemes: Champagne Gold and Black. The LCD display is tilted at an angle to be easily readable and the high-quality speaker can stream music from thousands of free stations from iHeartRadio or play whatever is on a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.

The SmartThinQ Hub is compatible with a number of devices from other manufacturers and service providers that support the AllJoyn® Alliance open source framework. LG recently formed a partnership with Lowe’s, the world’s second-largest hardware retail chain, to integrate LG’s smart devices with Lowe’s Iris smart home services. LG’s partnerships with other service providers are a key advantage of LG’s smart home system, which prioritizes compatibility across multiple brands. Such partnerships allow LG to offer packaged bundles that enhance safety, energy savings, air care or convenience that might include a SmartThinQ Hub, a SmartThinQ sensor and a variety of smart appliances and devices from other manufacturers such as smart lighting, motion sensors and moisture detecting sensors.

“The LG SmartThinQ Hub is just another example of the open approach we believe is the future of the smart home,” said Jo Seong-jin, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. “Openness and strong partnerships with industry leaders is what will make smart home technology more accessible and more convenient to consumers. And at the end of the day, that is what our smart home strategy is all about.”

The LG SmartThingQ Hub, SmartThingQ sensor and other intelligent products from LG will be on display at Central Hall Booth #8204 of the Las Vegas Convention Center from January 6-9. For more information about LG products at CES, please visit www.LGnewsroom.com/ces2016.


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