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More third-party smart speakers can make phone calls now

More third-party smart speakers than ever are now able to perform the most basic of functions: make phone calls.

Published onMarch 12, 2019

An image of a smart speaker on an outdoor patio set, as part of a smart speaker deal during August of 2018.

One of the most intuitive reasons one would want to own smart speakers is to be able to place hands-free phone calls. With Google’s line of Google Home hardware, it’s easy enough to say “OK, Google, call dad,” and the smart speaker takes care of everything (assuming you live in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K.).

However, there are a lot of third-party smart speakers out there with Google Assistant integration, and some of them can’t make phone calls. Luckily, that’s (slowly) changing, with Google introducing a new support page that gives better clarity on which smart speakers can perform this basic function.

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According to Google, smart speakers from Insignia (like the Insignia Voice, shown in the image above) work with phone calls, as well as smart speakers from Harman, like the Harman Kardon Citation One. Harman also owns JBL, which has its own line of smart speakers, such as the series of JBL Link speakers.

Additionally, Google says phone calls work on all smart displays, which would include the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View.

Unfortunately, we don’t own some of these speakers/displays, so we can’t test out whether phone calls work or not. If you happen to own one, let us know in the comments if you’re able to place hands-free calls. If you hit a snag, make sure you follow all the instructions at Google’s support page on the matter.

NEXT: Google refocusing Android Things to be all about smart speakers and displays