Startup Lynky wants to make it easier to take control of your various smart home devices with its new smart home hub of the same name. Lynky is powered by the Google Assistant and is equipped with a 5-inch touch screen and two far field microphones enabling users to control their smart home gadgets through the device via voice commands. It also comes in a desktop and a wall version which can replace a light switch for full room control. The Lynky device launched yesterday via Indiegogo and will retail for $149.
A Smart Home Solution
Although Lynky does have a screen, it does not provide the same functionality as a tablet or an Echo Show. Users cannot make videos calls (or any calls), watch videos, or install other apps. It is essentially a Google Home with a touch screen except that it does provide additional features to make it easier to get all your smart home devices working together as Andrew Gebhart of CNET points out:
Smart lightbulbs, smart locks and small smart sensors for your doors and windows frequently don’t talk directly to your router, as signaling with Wi-Fi takes a lot of battery. These devices communicate with a specialized frequency such as Zigbee and need a bridge to translate their message to send it to the cloud. The Lynky will act as that bridge for a variety of devices, so you won’t need to buy a separate hub for your motion sensors or smart bulbs.
One of the frustrations of the smart home is that it is supposed to make life easier, but getting all your different gadgets from different manufacturers can seem futile, even to those that are tech savvy. Lynky gives users the ability to control their smart home through just one voice assistant which is more difficult than it sounds. It also gives consumers flexibility in how they choose to engage with the device. Lynky users can control their smart home hub through the Google Assistant app, the Lynky smartphone app, their Google Home or the device itself.
Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa
I was curious as to why Lynky had chosen the Google Assistant over Amazon’s Alexa, considering Amazon has more third-party integrations. According to a company representative, “The Lynky team selected Google Assistant to power Lynky because of its solid digital assistant capabilities for voice control.” When it comes to third party integrations, perhaps Google does have an advantage in having the smarter voice assistant. It could be about quality over quantity. Or it could be that the large number of devices that already integrate with Amazon’s Alexa make it difficult for a startup like Lynky to get noticed.