Huawei’s New AI Speaker Looks Familiar
Huawei debuted a new smart speaker at their Mate 20 series event in Shanghai, China last week. The English translation of its name is “Huawei AI Speaker,” and it looks almost identical to the Apple Homepod. However, unlike the $349 Apple HomePod, the AI Speaker’s retail price is $60. Huawei’s in-house voice assistant Xiaoyi powers the AI speaker while the speaker design and acoustic systems were co-created by high-end hi-fi brand Dynaudio. The AI Speaker also includes such features as voiceprint recognition, six microphones, and Huawei’s “Histen” algorithm. The algorithm is a music equalizer and booster software similar to that of Huawei smartphones. It can also connect to other Xiaoyi-integrated devices using HiLink. No release date or distribution details have been announced yet.
Huawei Wants In on the Smart Speaker Market
A pattern has clearly emerged when it comes to Huawei’s aesthetic decisions and their smart speaker design: copy the US smart speaker model. Huawei also announced this year a Google Home clone called the AI Cube although it does have different capabilities than its US counterpart. Besides being an Alexa-powered smart speaker, the AI Cube is also a Wi-Fi router and 4G LTE Modem all in one.
It remains to be seen if Huawei will find success copying the US smart speaker model as the AI Cube has also yet to be given a release date, but perhaps late is better than never when it comes to the China smart speaker market. China is responsible for 52% of Q2 2018 smart speaker sales volume growth, with Alibaba sales nearing 3 million devices, and Xiaomi reaching 2 million unit shipments. It makes sense that Huawei wants in on the smart speaker market. Providing budget friendly smart speakers is a good way to realize that goal.