I liked the Lenovo Smart Clock when I reviewed it back in June. It’s a pretty minimalist take on the smart screen designed for the very specific purpose of living next to your bed. The streamlined features are very much by design — rather than the kitchen sink approach, the clock is built around a relatively limited number of Assistant functions, coupled with tailored alarm functionality.
Today, Google’s bringing a handful of new features, attempting to walk that line by adding functions without making the bedside product overly distracting. The addition of Google Photos is a no-brainer, using the app to double as a small-screen digital picture frame while it sits idle. Hey look, a Yorkie.
Google’s also bringing one of the best smart screen features to the small display, with the ability to view video from smart cameras. Not a bad feature to have next to your bed. Interestingly, while the product is clearly capable of displaying video, Google still isn’t making YouTube available here, for the aforementioned reason of “limiting distractions.”
It’s a nice sentiment, but YouTube’s always been Google’s biggest and best weapon in smart screen wars. The company really pulled the rug out from under Amazon by blocking access to the service on Echo devices. Google says it may revisit the feature later, however, depending on user feedback.
Also new here is Continued Conversation, which keeps Assistant active for longer, in order to create a more “natural back-and-forth conversation” with the AI. The idea is to lessen the number of times the user has to use the wake word to interact with Assistant.
Those features are starting to roll out this week. The Smart Clock will also be available in additional countries soon, including India.