Polk Audio introduced Thursday the Polk Assist voice-controlled smart speaker that delivers Polk hi-fidelity speaker sound along with the convenience of built-in Google Assistant voice controlled AI.

Google Assistant technology will enable users to simply speak out desired commands to play a favorite song, control compatible home automation devices or ask questions that can be automatically retrieved from an Internet search, hands free.

The system is also equipped with built-in Chromecast that will enable grouping multiple Chromecast-enabled speakers and sound bars for multiroom playback from compatible audio apps such as Pandora, TuneIn, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR and Spotify, Polk said.

For those concerned about privacy issues, Polk told HD Guru that “the Polk Assist does have a microphone mute button that can be used when consumers aren’t using the speaker. This would keep the microphones off so no random conversations would be picked up.”

Polk Assist features optimized set-up and control. To do so, a free Google Home app is downloaded from the Google Play or iOS App stores to begin using the smart speaker.

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Polk is making the Polk Assist available in a choice of midnight black or cool gray.

The AI speaker system is based on the Android Things platform that is equipped with intelligent learning algorithms. Users are able able to leverage features and benefits from the ecosystem of Android developers and partners to deliver a smart, hands-free premium audio experience, the company said.

Polk said Polk Assist is one of the first smart speakers built on the “certified Android Things System-on-Modules (SoMs),” which is continuously upgraded with feature and security updates from Google.

Polk Assist will hit retail shelves in June at a $199 suggested retail price ($179 anticipated street retail).


By Greg Tarr


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