Ahead of CES 2016, LG is hopping on the smart speaker bandwagon with a new device that looks somewhat familiar. The company announced its SmartThinq Hub today, a smart home hub with an LCD display that can control intelligent appliances and sensors and stream music. It looks quite similar in design to Amazon's Echo, but LG is positioning the hub as a "gateway" to your connected home rather than a voice-activated personal assistant that lives on your countertop.
The cylindrical device has a built-in speaker and a 3.5-inch color LCD display that's positioned on the slanted top of the hub. According to LG, the display will not only show you information like the time and weather, but it will also flash with calendar alerts from your smartphone. It's not immediately clear if the SmartThinq Hub will be able to show you other smartphone notifications, such as text, call, or social media alerts.
The SmartThinq Hub is meant to be used as a monitor and controller for all your other smart appliances and products. LG makes a wide range of connected appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, and ovens, all of which can be controlled via the SmartThinq Hub and its companion smartphone app. LG announced its SmartThinq Sensors earlier this year, which can be applied to "normal" objects to make them smart, and those that are connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee can be controlled via the hub, too. LG's products are not the only items compatible with the hub: any smart home device that supports the AllJoyn Alliance open source framework can work with the hub as well.