Send in the clones: MWC gives us our first look at the Google smart displays to come

MWC 2018 may not have officially started yet at the time of writing, but that hasn’t stopped French company Archos from unveiling its Google Assistant powered smart display that’s going to be on show at the conference. 

Just when the world was starting to get used to the idea of smart speakers, along come smart displays and upset the market. Essentially a smart speaker with a screen, the smart display is already establishing itself as an essential part of the smart home setup. 

The first major smart display to hit the market was Amazon’s Echo Show, and even with no YouTube it’s still proving to be a big hit. So it was with bated breath that tech fans waited to see what Google’s answer was going to be.

Third-party manufacturers

In an interesting move, Google doesn’t seem to be producing its own smart display, not yet anyway. Instead, it is leaving the job up to third-party manufacturers like JBL and Lenovo. We saw the first wave of these Google Assistant speakers at CES earlier in the year. 

Now we’re starting to see a next wave, and Archos’ Hello smart display shows just what we’ve got in store. It’s got all the things you’d expect, a screen, a speaker, a microphone array. 

What’s unusual about the Hello is the fact that it’s running on the Android Oreo operating system. Google has created a platform specifically for smart displays (video below) built on top of Android Things, the platform for internet of things (IoT) products, but Archos has decided to use the version of Android designed for mobile phones and tablets. 

Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that Archos has chosen to favour the mobile OS, given its background with mobile devices.

Inside it’s got 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, which is less than you’d expect from even a mid-range phone, and the touchscreen comes in either a 7-inch or 8.4-inch variant. The design looks slimmer and sleeker than the other Google Assistant speakers we’ve seen so far, and you’ve got the option to place it either horizontally or vertically. 

Archos is planning for the Hello to be available mid-2018 for €129.99 (about $160, £115, AU$200) for the 7-inch variant and €179.99 EUR (about $220, £160, AU$280) for the 8.4-inch model. 

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.
Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.