Yandex Releases New Station Mini Smart Speaker
Russian tech search engine giant Yandex has debuted a new smart speaker called the Station Mini powered by the Alice voice assistant. The Station Mini is an upgrade from the existing version of the smart speaker and includes a version with an LED display and one without the lights.
Station Mini With More
The new Station Mini looks much like its predecessor but includes several hardware upgrades, including better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and a giant leap in sound power from three to ten W. The updated speaker also has buttons on the tp to control it manually, an AUX connector and can be paired with another speaker to simulate surround sound. The LED variation enables Alice to display information such as time, weather, or news. The LED element seems to be popular in Russia, as Mail.ru’s latest Capsule Mini smart speaker incorporates the lights as well. The version with LEDs costs about $98 and the one without costs approximately $84, so hardly a huge variation.
Yandex’s other new product is a kind of smart TV set-top device called the Module. When connected to a standard TV, users can access streaming channels and other online content, similar to the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Cube. Like a Fire TV, it comes with a voice-enabled remote control so watchers can run the TV by talking to the voice assistant. Alice can find content by name, genre, or performer, and make recommendations based on their previous viewing. There’s an additional voice feature for those who buy the Mini Station and the Module. When connected, viewers can use the smart speaker to interact with the smart TV by voice instead of needing the remote. Alice can even find the remote when it’s lost if the smart speaker and TV are connected.
Yandex has been pushing out a lot of new Alice features over the last year, including creating a way to connect Alice to smart TVs. Alice can also pay at restaurants, make bets on sports, and become an art critic. The company recently partnered with Chinses tech firm Huawei to support its Celia voice assistant in Russia using Alice’s platform. Yandex is hoping to use all of these new features to beat Tinkoff Bank’s Oleg voice assistant, Sber’s Salute voice AI, and Mail.Ru’s Marusya virtual assistant, even as they debut new smart speakers and otherwise go after Yandex’s market share.