Xiaomi’s New Smart Speaker Doubles as Voice-Enabled Infrared Remote Control
Xiaomi has launched a new smart speaker exclusive to India designed to make non-smart home devices part of the smart home ecosystem through infrared. The Xiaomi Smart Speaker IR Control release marks the Chinese tech giant’s eighth anniversary in India, and almost two years after debuting its first smart speaker with Google Assistant in India.
As with other international Xiaomi smart speakers, the Xiaomi Smart Speaker IR Control doesn’t use the company’s Xiao AI voice assistant, expanding beyond its Chinese-only linguistic limitation. The IR sensors are the standout feature of the new device, which is otherwise a technologically upgraded version of the Mi Smart Speaker from 2020 with a 1.5-inch full-range speaker, two microphones and an LED clock display. The four IR sensors enable the smart speaker to bridge the gap between older devices without a cloud connection and the newer smart device ecosystem. Users can ask Google Assistant to turn on or off televisions, air conditioners, or other devices that usually come with an IR remote control, making them a limited part of a smart home setup. The $75 IR Control can connect with others for simultaneous sound or two can be arranged for stereo audio. The smart speaker includes Chromecast support as well.
“Now with this smart speaker, you no more have to worry about finding remotes. The smartness in the speaker also comes from this IR, that is infrared, remote functionality which enables you to control your non-smart remote control devices through the speaker. The speaker has four IR sensors positioned at the top corners for full 360-degree coverage which means you can now control any non-smart device from anywhere in your home with just one single command,” Xiaomi India senior marketing manager Sandeep Sarma explained in a video introducing the device. “You can add all your traditional home devices which have the IR sensor and start using through the Xiaomi smart speaker. The IR functionality will be compatible with all your IR-enabled devices.”
Adding IR control to a smart speaker fits with some of Xiaomi’s other smart device experiments, such as a mouse with the XiaoAI voice assistant built in a partnership with Logitech. The company also sells a Nintendo Game Boy lookalike mobile device for children called the Xiaomi Al Ping Q, a voice-enabled electric scooter for kids, and a voice-controlled cyberdog.