Microsoft Teams introduces a new product category — or did they?

Jimmy Vaughan
Jan 4 · 3 min read

Yesterday there was an announcement that some might have glossed over in regards to an upcoming product debuting at CES.

Lenovo ThinkSmart View running Microsoft Teams software

PC manufacturer Lenovo will be introducing what they are calling the ThinkSmart View which will run Microsoft Teams.

Lenovo’s full press release is found here.

While this might not be too exciting to see that Lenovo is introducing another Microsoft Teams device, the concept of this device is exciting for Microsoft to provide Microsoft Teams customers with more device choices for their shared meeting spaces or even personal office spaces. Remember though, we saw the announcement from Poly at Ignite about their new phones that will ship without a handset as well in the CCX 600 unit and seems to be in the same category as the new Lenovo device set to debut at CES this month as Lenovo will pair this with their Bluetooth headset as an option as well.

HAVEN’T I SEEN THIS DEVICE FROM LENOVO BEFORE?

Lenovo does currently have a device out in the market now that looks very similar to the soon to be debuted ThinkSmart View. It is called the Lenovo Smart Display with Google assistant. While this device looks similar, it is indeed different and the only thing it might share is form factor. In full disclosure, I have this device for my home as a Google home device and it does very well. There are some hiccups with it at times, but that is most likely due to the Google Assistant software as it performs very similar to the Google Hub made by Google themselves.

The device features 2 speakers on the side and does provide good mic pickup and speaker output given the size of the device so I would expect similar performance from the unit coming for Microsoft Teams as well since the form factor is what would provide the speaker output.

Here are some of the specs that I gathered from the 2 Lenovo devices to show that they are indeed different, but do share the same form factor.

While you might think that this device type might not currently fit your form factor for a conference room today, many of the Microsoft Teams Room systems that were designed for traditional conference rooms are also being put into other than traditional spaces as I wrote about here. With a new device form factor, I am sure we will see creative uses for these devices as well beyond the personal desktop application that I am seeing they are currently being marketing towards.

  • Do you think this device type has a place in your office environment?
  • Will this device type provide you a solution for a challenge in your environment right now?
  • What limitations might this device have with Microsoft Teams features since it is running the Qualcomm APQ8053 chipset?
Jimmy Vaughan

Written by

With over 20 years of experience in AV and IT roles for a well diverse combination of employers, I have a specialty in devices and solutions for meeting spaces.

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