Baidu Aims at Premium Market With New X10 Smart Display
Baidu has launched its most expensive smart display ever in a bid for the more upscale smart home market. The Chinese tech giant is pitching the approximately $150 (RMB 999 Yuan) Xiaodu Smart Display X10 as the flagship device for its smart speaker and display catalog thanks to improved hardware and AI features operated through the Xiaodu voice assistant. Baidu showed off the smart display and its upgraded XiaoduPods earbuds at the 2020 Xiaodu Fall New Product Launch in Beijing.
The X10 looks a bit like a tablet computer on top of a speaker and mounted on a stand. Unlike the plastic smart speakers and displays produced by Baidu before, the X10 has a metal skin and base, with a mesh cover for the speaker. The hardware is relatively powerful for its size, with 1280 by 800 resolution on the 10.1-inch screen, a five-megapixel HD camera, and 8W speakers The X10 includes voice and gesture commands for Xiaodu, which can recognize individual voices and carry on extended conversations without the user needing to repeat the wake word. Baidu worked with Silicon Valley-based design firm fuseproject to develop the look of the smart display. smart devices functions that guarantee a seamless user experience for family members of all age groups. The comprehensive modifications include full-duplex continued conversation, gesture control, voiceprint recognition, and intelligent response capabilities, all empowered by Baidu’s leading AI technology.
“Our goal is to serve people of all age groups,” Baidu corporate vice president and general manager of Smart Living Group (SLG) Kun Jing said in a statement. ” We hope to accelerate the process of ‘breaking boundaries’, allowing smart assistants to be engaged in different scenarios at a faster pace and enter the lives of more people,”
Baidu has plenty of capital to invest in the high-end products after a valuation for a recent SLG financing round pegged the company’s voice assistant and smart device business to be worth about $2.9 billion. Baidu upgraded the DuerOS platform that supports Xiaodu in September. The new DuerOS 6.0, can support low-power voice chips and uses software algorithms to amplify sound. The AI is also better at understanding what people, with a 46% lower error rate, according to Baidu. The high valuation likely comes from the sheer number of people using the voice assistant. Last year, Baidu reports that more than 500 million devices use DuerOS now, with 6.5 billion queries to the AI in March of 2020. The growth isn’t slowing, especially after Baidu signed a deal in June with Midea, China’s largest smart device manufacturers, to allow Xiaodu’s smart speakers to control Midea’s appliances. Midea has sold more than 70 million smart home appliances and the new DuerOS will likely help integrate the AI with those devices.
Baidu also used the event to showcase the previously announced new version of the XiaoduPods earbuds. The hearables look a lot like Apple AirPods, except costing only about $29 as their introductory price. The earbuds come with dual-microphones and active noise-canceling mode, and can awaken the voice assistant by saying, “Xiaodu Xiaodu.” Baidu is particularly excited about the voice note feature, which starts the earbuds or a connected device to recording audio with a single tap, and will transcribe the text on a smartphone’s notes app. The devices also come with the unique Wandering Earth mode. which lets two people each wear an earbud and have their conversation translated in real-time into their preferred language. For now, that’s just between Chinese and English, but the language options are expected to expand. Wandering Earth mode is only available for Chinese and English right now, but Baidu is likely to add more languages to the list soon.