Thursday, 6 July 2017

Alibaba launches Tmall Genie X1, a voice activated speaker that only understands Mandarin

The smart speaker market has taken off all of a sudden. Amazon introduced its Echo in November 2014, but over the last six months, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Lenovo, Essential have joined the race with their own versions.

Now China's e-commerce giant Alibaba is foraying into the smart speaker market with the Tmall Genie X1.  The smart speaker will be available only in China and is integrated with an AI assiatant called Genie that can understand only Mandarin. 

Similar to other voice activated speakers, Genie X1 can play music, newscasts, add events and appointments to calendar, control smart home appliances and shop for stuffs from Alibaba's Tmall store.

Designwise, it looks like Amazon's Echo with a cylindrical shape and has a downward-facing light ring that illuminates the base, when the speaker is activated. It measures 126mm X 83mm X 83mm and weighs 400g.

It is powered by MediaTek MT8516 chip made up of four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.3GHz. The chip is specially made for voice assistant devices. The speaker is equipped with 360-degree omni-directional microphone, and can pick up voice from 5m away. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 LE and WiFi for wireless connectivity.

The Tmall Genie X1 goes on sale on August 8 in China, and will sell for CNY 499 ($73), making it the cheapest smart speaker in the market. The Alexa powered Amazon Echo sells for around $180, Google's Home costs $129 while Apple's HomePod goes for $349. 

Via 1 | 2 | Source

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