Google said to be releasing its own smart display this year

Back at CES in January, Google put on a big show with the launch of a new product category designed to take on Amazon’s Echo Show and Spot. Three companies — LG, Lenovo and JBL — were waiting in the wings with their own take on the screen-powered smart speaker.

Google itself, on the other hand, was conspicuously absent. The company seemed content to rely on third-party hardware makers to do the heavy lifting in taking on Amazon. According to a new report from Nikkei Asian Review, however, the company is planning a screen sporting Home device before year’s end.

Lenovo’s Smart Display — the best looking of the original trio — launched late last month. Google, meanwhile, has been actively courting hardware makers to develop their own take on the product. At I/O, the company even handed out prototyping kits to attendees.

The strategy seemed a bit surprising, given the success Google has had with its own Home line. A recent report from Canalys shows a 449 percent year over year growth in global shipments, putting the company comfortably ahead of Amazon. If nothing else, however, letting manufacturers go first here was a vote of confidence that Google would continue to support third-party use of Google Assistant, even as it expands its own Home line.

Given the expected launch of the Pixel 3 in October, Google could well have the perfect platform to showcase new Home products just in time for the holidays.