The JBL Link Bar brings Google Assistant and Android TV together in a soundbar

JBL Link Bar

Ahead of its Google IO 2018 event on May 8, Google and JBL have announced a new breed of soundbar that takes the best of both companies and mashes them together.

The result is the JBL Link Bar, and it offers Android TV and Google Assistant all built into a unibody soundbar.

Now, you might be wondering, why is that so appealing? 

Android TV has apps for Netflix, YouTube and Hulu, while Google Assistant that offers voice control over your smart home devices, music streaming services and answers to voice inquiries. Combining the three products together in one spot is not only extremely convenient, but it’s also potentially cost-saving, too.

If we were a betting website (which we’re not) we’d bet that the JBL Link Bar is likely to take center stage - alongside a number of other new audio devices - at the May 8 event.

No bonus for Sonos 

If there’s one entity who’d be nonplussed at the idea of a two-in-one soundbar, it’s Sonos. Late last week the company sent out invitations to a June 6 event in San Francisco where it’s widely believed to be showing a product similar to the one JBL announced today.

Sonos’ upcoming speaker is believed to incorporate Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant instead of Google’s, however, and there’s no word on what operating system the Sonos audio product will run, if any. 

While the JBL Link Bar is likely to take some of the wind out of Sonos’ sails, keep in mind that Sonos not only has a more robust multi-room audio platform of its own design going for it, but also its last product - the Sonos One - was easily the best-sounding smart speaker released last year. (Sorry Apple HomePod!) 

What else is Google hiding up its sleeve? We’ll just have to wait until May 8 to find out! 

Via The Verge 

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.