Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery outside of the retail world, but within it, releasing a product that practically calls attention to its similarities with a competing item is as close to a declaration of war as it gets.
Just days ahead of CES 2016, LG announced that it would be showing off its SmartThinq Hub devices at the consumer electronics conference in a bid to derail Amazon’s momentum with Echo. Jo Seong-jin, president and CEO of LG Electronics Home Appliance and Air Solutions, explained that the SmartThinq platform will allow his company to establish a firm and lasting foothold in the emerging market for smart home technologies.
“The LG SmartThinQ Hub is just another example of the open approach we believe is the future of the smart home,” Seong-jin said in a statement. “Openness and strong partnerships with industry leaders is what will make smart home technology more accessible and more convenient to consumers. And at the end of the day, that is what our smart home strategy is all about.”
Ars Technica reported that while the SmartThinq device may look and sound similar to Amazon’s Echo, the purpose of each product differs slightly. While Echo may have the capability to act as a hub for all IoT-enabled smart home devices, it’s primarly marketed as an all-in-one audio device. Instead, LG is emphasizing the central position SmartThinq can play in a consumers’ home, complete with a smartphone app to corral all the notifications from a whole house’s network of devices into one easily accessible format.
While LG didn’t release any information on when SmartThinq could hit the market and at what price, the announcement is sure to draw LG’s booth at CES some longer lines as consumers — and especially Amazon adherents — check out just what SmartThinq can do for the future of smart homes.