Xiaomi Voice Assistant Adds Continuous Dialogue and Phone Answering Service
Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has introduced some major new features to its Xiao AI. Xiao AI 3.0 includes the ability to carry on a continuous conversation, screen phone calls, and speak in a new male voice. The new features match several of the latest additions to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, suggesting more intense competition to come.
Xiaomi Understanding Conversational Flow
Xiao AI 3.0 offers what the company refers to as “naturally continuous dialogue.” That means that once the voice assistant is awake, a user can have a conversation with multiple commands without having to continually awaken and set the voice assistant to listening for a new order. In addition, the user can interrupt their own conversation at any time to add new instructions and the AI is supposed to understand the shift.
The other big improvement turns Xiao AI into a digital phone secretary. When a call comes in, the AI can turn the message into text and generate a potential reply. Once the user taps the reply they want to send back, the AI will speak it back to the caller, all without the user ever having to pick up the phone. Xiao AI 3.0 also updates the voice assistant’s design and internet browsing capability and includes a voice remote control for smart TVs and the ability to find a misplaced smartphone with a voice command. The new updates are not universal, only the Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro 5G and Xiaomi Mi 9 smartphones are able to run them.
Google and Amazon Competition
The latest version of Xiao AI shares similar traits to semi-recent Alexa and Google Assistant changes. Amazon introduced continued conversation, which it calls follow-up mode in early 2018, while Google added the conversation feature to its smart speakers and mobile app in mid-2018 before extending it to its smart displays this past March.
Meanwhile, Google debuted a call-screening feature last year, which also sounds very similar to Xiaomi’s new offering. The Google feature will even get transcripts of those calls. Google has been building on that with its newer call-holding option, which has the voice assistant handle being on-hold for a caller, alerting them when a human gets on the line.
The point of all of these kinds of features is to make using the voice assistant as natural and frictionless as possible. Humans don’t speak in stilted declarations and questions and if voice assistants are going to be useful all of the time they can’t do so either. Xiaomi is lifting its voice assistant to the level of its rivals in that regard, which may help it pull in more of the market.