Huawei has launched its first smart speaker, dubbed, Huawei AI Cube. It's an Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker launched at the IFA 2018 event in Berlin. Same as the case with other smart speakers, the Huawei AI Cube can make Alexa to Alexa voice calls and the best part is it even comes with 4G mobile Internet router. So if local operators in a country give heads up for the voice calling through the AI Cube, users will be able to make standard voice calls with this smart speaker. Furthermore, users can also use the device as a hotspot. It's an interesting feature to have around and Huawei is known for such innovations in the industry.
Huawei AI Cube Has a 4G Mobile Internet Router
Unlike other smart speakers such as the Google Home, Apple's HomePod or Amazon Echo devices, the cylindrical-sized speaker from Huawei also has a 4G mobile Internet router, meaning users can insert a SIM card in the device and make it their Wi-Fi hotspot if they so wish.
"We are planning to sell it in partnership with local mobile network operators just like what Jio is doing with its phones in India," Shudong Luo, Chief Marketing Engineer, IoT (Internet of Things) Product Line, told IANS, hinting that the AI Cube could even come for free, depending on the partnership with the local carrier.
The AI Cube, which currently supports three languages - English, German and French is likely to hit the stores first in Europe towards the end of this year.
Huawei is Not Prepared to Launch the AI Cube in India
Huawei said it was currently not prepared to bring it to the fledgeling Indian smart speaker market. In India, we have seen smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Both the speakers are doing well in the country as the companies have shipped higher shipments than last year.
Huawei AI Cube Features
Besides the addition of the 4G router, what sets the AI Cube apart from its competitors are the Huawei Histen audio technology and its enhanced AI capabilities that offers superior performance, Shudong said, adding that one can call the AI Cube from a maximum distance of five metres. Histen enriches the AI speaker's set of features by including virtual bass, linear phase equaliser, adaptive gain control, far-field voice recognition and more as part of its repertoire, Huawei said.
While the calling capability of the AI Cube is not unique for a smart speaker, it may have a wider application than its competitors because of the 4G router.
"The AI Cube works like a human ear and automatically adjusts to the surrounding sound effects," Shudong said about the device powered by HiSilicon Balong chipset.
The device supports LTE category six speeds -300Mbps downlink - and is compatible with the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, meaning the router is dual band, capable of working on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, according to Huawei.
Huawei AI Cube Comes With Amazon Alexa
With Alexa built into the device, consumers can use it to effortlessly play music, control smart home devices, and access more than 50,000 "skills", or apps, with voice commands. The worldwide smart home devices market, inclusive of smart speakers and other devices, is forecast to ship 549.5 million devices in 2018, growing 26.8% over the prior year, according to a report from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
The value of the smart speaker market is set to reach $27.8 billion in 2022 from $11.8 billion in 2018, according to the report.