Xiaomi’s New Mobile Smart Display for Kids Looks Like a Game Boy
Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has launched a new mobile device with for children with a design that appears to mimic the Nintendo Game Boy portable video game system from the 1980s. The Xiaomi Al Ping Q is the latest of the company’s devices using the XiaoAI voice assistant for more specialized purposes.
Mobile Pal for Kids
The Ping Q is very clearly shaped for smaller hands, with a small screen, comparable to a smartwatch in resolution. There’s no touchpad, just the Game Boy-esque directional D-Pad, and two buttons, one for confirming a choice and one to navigate to an earlier screen. The device is only “smart” in a limited sense. It can’t do everything a regular Xiaomi smart display can, but it comes with apps for music, an alarm clock, and the XiaoAI assistant acts as a tutor, asking questions on English, history, and science. The main purpose of the Ping Q is to allay parental safety concerns. The device can add three phone numbers as shortcuts to call over 4G and has Wi-Fi and GPS that can be used by parents to track the location of their child. Ping Qs can also connect to each other over Bluetooth for shared activities. For now, the device is only available in China. Xiaomi is pitching the Ping Q as an entry-level device, however, costing just 399 yuan, about $57.
Xiaomi’s new device is another entry in its growing list of XiaoAI-powered devices. It feels like the company is experimenting to see which of its creations people want most and it should invest more resources to develop. That said, the latest additions have been either low-cost or very obviously imitating already successful designs. In May, the company revealed the XiaoAI Art Speaker, a metal-bodied, entry-level smart speaker similar to the Apple HomePod, not long after the XiaoAI Touchscreen Pro 8 smart display. As for the more specialized tools, the company released a smartwatch likely modeled on the Apple Watch, and there’s a new mouse with XiaoAI inside. The Ping Q also extends Xiaomi’s catalog for children, with the voice assistant embedded in the company’s new electric scooter for kids. The voice assistant is specifically there to teach kids how to ride, but parents can set its speakers to play music too.
As Xiaomi continues to compete in China against Huawei and smaller developers, it may hope that spreading XiaoAI across a wider range of devices will make the voice assistant more of a presence in people’s homes and lives. Active monthly users of the voice assistant rose 54.9% to 70.5 million in Xiaomi’s recent quarterly report, and there are 252 million devices on the Xiaomi Internet of Things platform, so the strategy could pay off for Xiaomi.