Lenovo sells pricey ThinkSmart Hub conferencing devices. It also sells far less expensive smart displays. Next week at CES it will announce that it will be crossing the streams on the two distinct product lines with the arrival of the ThinkSmart View. The device looks to essentially be a Google Assistant-style smart display, repurposed for the office setting.
Instead of centering around Google’s home AI, however, the system is essentially powered by Microsoft Teams. Basically, it’s a way for offices to offer up a devoted Teams audio/video conferencing device at the fraction of the cost of its other enterprise solutions. The View starts at $349 (or $449 with an included pair of Bluetooth headphones for open offices). Compare that to the $1,800 asking rate for last year’s ThinkSmart Hub 500.
The device probably makes the most sense for smaller conference rooms and SMBs on higher budgets. It could, too, work at individual desks or for remote workers, though it’s going to take heavy use to justify the purchase of one of these, versus just installing Teams on your PCs. Still, it’s an interesting push for the smart display category, as manufacturers look for life beyond the kitchen and bedroom.
Benefits include quick access to Teams meetings and a physical shutter for privacy. No reason why Lenovo couldn’t also do one of these for Google office Hangouts, as well. They certainly beat paying exorbitant prices for one of those Microsoft or Google smart whiteboards.
The View launches this month.