Alexa Meets Google Assistant: JBL’s New Speaker Redefines Smart Audio

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It looks like Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant have learned to play nice together—as long as a new JBL smart speaker is there to mediate.

JBL has just launched its latest line of retro-style smart speakers, setting a milestone by integrating Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. These speakers, known as the JBL Authentics series, debuted this week at the IFA tech show in Berlin and are set to hit the market on September 17,2023.

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What makes these speakers unique is their ability to simultaneously have both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa on board. This means users can call upon either assistant at any time, allowing for a seamless and convenient experience. For instance, your kids can ask Alexa to play their favorite KIDZ BOP playlist, and then you can tell Google to pause it when the kids get distracted.

A new era for Google and Amazon?

Historically, Google and Amazon haven't been besties, but this collaboration marks a shift in their relationship. While the voice assistants aren't directly linked, they are "aware" of each other, thanks to the Multi-Agent Experience (MAX) Toolkit. The toolkit enables them to control each other's timers and music without interfering with one another.

These new JBL speakers also extend their multi-assistant capabilities to smart home devices, streamlining control for users who previously needed separate speakers for different voice assistants. But it's worth noting that while the JBL speakers offer convenience, they come at a higher price point than some other options (prices range from around $350 to $700).

A closer look at JBL Authentics smart speakers

The JBL Authentics series includes the JBL Authentics 200, JBL Authentics 500, and the portable JBL Authentics 300. These speakers boast high-end audio features like Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth, ethernet, and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can even take the Authentics 300 on the go for up to eight hours of battery-powered music.

The JBL Authentics 500 offers an impressive 3.1 channel sound with virtual Dolby Atmos, powered by three one-inch tweeters, three 2.75-inch midrange woofers, and a 6.5-inch down-firing subwoofer. On the other hand, the Authentics 200 provides a more compact option with a pair of one-inch tweeters, a five-inch woofer, and a six-inch passive radiator.

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa united but not fully functional

While these JBL speakers mark a significant step towards dual voice assistant integration, you lose some of our favorite voice assistant functionality. The third-party speaker doesn't offer Alexa Guard, and you can't use Google Assistant to make calls. This partnership aims to make voice assistants more accessible and user-friendly, and we're excited to see how this type of collaboration progresses.

In the rapidly evolving smart speaker market, where competition is fierce, integrating multiple voice assistants provides users with greater flexibility and choice. As technology advances, we hope for even more seamless interactions and interoperability between voice assistants across various smart home and home security devices.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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