Sunday, August 25, 2019

Huawei revealed a new AI speaker at its Mate 20 event in China today, via Engadget. The design is blatantly similar to Apple’s HomePod, with mute, call, and volume control buttons on top of its cylindrical body and dark gray fabric covering. It’s the second smart speaker from Huawei. It unveiled the first look at its Alexa-enabled AI Cube last month, which looks like an elongated Google Home and is not at all cube-shaped.

Unlike the AI Cube, though, the Huawei AI speaker (that’s what its Chinese name roughly translates to) uses its proprietary Xiaoyi voice assistant. It’s also much cheaper than the $350 Apple HomePod at 399 yuan (about $60 USD). There are no plans yet for a global release, so we’ll have to wait to see if Huawei will add English voice support.

The AI speaker uses Danish speaker company Dynaudio’s audio technology, and it’s also paired with Huawei’s own “Histen” algorithm (the company’s name for its music equalizer effects), which can be found on Huawei’s phones. The 2.25-inch high-fidelity, 10W speaker has six microphones and voiceprint recognition to distinguish different family members’ voices. It comes in two colors, gray and white.

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