Nowadays, more devices are becoming “smart” devices. Right now, Verizon is working on a new smart soundbar that can function as a smart speaker and turn your TV into an Android TV. Based on a tweet from @Androidtv_rumor, this device actually passed FCC certification.
Some of this device’s specs were leaked
Since this information is from FCC, we can’t expect to glean much. The tweet tells us that this Android TV soundbar will be manufactured by a company named Askey. This device with the model number ASK-STI6251 will be compatible with the 2.4 and 5GHz signal bands. Other than that, we know that this will run Android version 11.
What the heck is an Android TV soundbar?
This is basically a soundbar trying to be an overachiever. It’s a soundbar that you attach to your TV to play audio through. That doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary, but then it has smart features.
Firstly, it’s also a smart speaker, a device that can access a digital assistant (Google Assistant in this case). That doesn’t sound too odd; it actually sounds rather neat, but the real kicker is the addition of Android TV. Yes! This speaker will actually turn your TV into an Android TV.
The purpose of this is to be an all-in-one entertainment center. It’s for people who want to boost their TV-watching experience without investing in an expensive multi-device setup.
The last attempt at this was… really bad
The reason why you probably haven’t heard of this kind of device is because the last time a company tried this, it flopped pretty badly. Back in 2019, JBL released a product called the JBL Link Bar. This was an Android TV soundbar that did the three aforementioned functions.
It wrapped Google’s digital assistant and Google’s TV platform in a sleek and slender package. While the aesthetics were top notch and the sound was really good, the Link Bar just didn’t find its place with audiences. According to a review from The Verge, it had nice audio and handled being a smart speaker well.
On the other hand, the Link Bar was really slow to initiate commands. It had an annoying habit of turning on your TV while you’re just trying to listen to music, and it had trouble carrying out commands that dealt with video. Overall, it did a lot of things, but just not well.
We don’t know when this device will come out, but it seems that Verizon wants to try and succeed where JBL couldn’t. Only time will tell if it can.