Apple, Google, and Samsung all have smart speakers. Not to be left behind, fellow smartphone titan Huawei is playing catch up with another budget contender, following the reveal of its AI Cube (a speaker, 4G modem, WiFi router hybrid and Google Home clone, all rolled into one). The company teased the new gadget — the Chinese name of which translates as “Huawei AI Speaker” — at its Mate 20 series event in Shanghai, China, earlier today.
As first impressions go, there’s the glaringly obvious: this device looks like a HomePod doppelgänger, complete with a stout, cylindrical design with control buttons at the top. But, at 399 yuan ($60) it doesn’t cost nearly as much as Apple’s $349 gadget. It also comes in black and white.
Inside lurks Huawei’s “Histen” algorithm — a music equalizer and booster software that can also be found on its smartphones. When paired with the built-in 2.25-inch high-fidelity hardware, with a power of 10W and two passive bass radiators, the result is a more natural sounding effect and more powerful bass performance, according to the company. Danish high-end hi-fi brand Dynaudio was also brought in to co-create the design and acoustic systems. Rounding out the specs and features, are six microphones and voiceprint recognition.
The smarts, meanwhile, are provided by Huawei’s “Xiaoyi” voice assistant. That means it can play nice with smart devices that boast HiLink connectivity support (think smart locks, lights, air purifiers, security cams etc.). Alas, Huawei didn’t reveal when the product would land or offer details on its global rollout.