Yesterday we told you about Facebook’s recently rumoured endeavor to develop its own smart speaker, and also rambled on for a bit about how more and more big-name tech enterprises are looking to enter the niche of clever speaker devices.
Today we have had yet another entry on the list, as Xiaomi became the latest of companies to launch its own smart speaker, dubbed the Mi AI Speaker, which it unveiled at its MIUI 9 event. Xiaomi’s device will utilize voice-controlled features and would allow customers to control other smart Xiaomi products by voice, such as light switches or multimedia devices.
In terms of design, it kind of reminds of Amazon’s Echo unit, with a multi-colored LED ring at the top that lights up when the speaker is on. There are a total of 6 omnidirectional microphones that can pick up sounds from up to 16 meters away. The device benefits from three speakers that Xiaomi claims deliver “excellent audio quality” – one in the base and two on the sides.
The speaker can stream music, audio books and live radio, but it will also be able to integrate with plugins to enable taking calls, delivering notifications and reminders. Xiaomi has also said that there will be a large online library with stream content for the AI Speaker.
The device will sell at $45 (¥299), which is quite an affordable price for this segment of gadgets.
At today’s media event, Xiaomi also showed off its Mi 5X smartphone that comes with the new MIUI 9, which offers faster app loading and a bunch of new interface features. It’s important to note that it is very unlikely that the AI Speaker and the Mi 5X will reach shelves outside of Asia, as Xiaomi is largely focused on the Chinese and Indian markets. However, it’s worth mentioning that the company is rumoured to make an entry into the US over the next two years.