A Canalys report estimates a 100 million smart speaker install base by the end of 2018. This number is expected to double in the next two years, and Huawei wants to be part of it. The company has announced, at the ongoing IFA 2018, its first smart speaker: AI Cube. But the Huawei AI Cube is more than that: it’s a two-in-one speaker and 4G router, powered by Alexa.
AI Cube features dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, in addition to 4G LTE Category 6, and LAN connectivity. Huawei claims “high quality audio” performance output from the 15W mono speaker, aluminum diaphragm, and 400ml sound cavity. Four microphones listen for voice input with Far Field Voice Recognition, and Amazon Alexa is offering the smarts. What exactly can it do? “Play music, control smart home devices, and access more than 50,000 skills”, says Huawei.
Build is minimalistic, with ports hidden underneath the base, which is 218mm tall, and 116mm in diameter. The design employs a matte white body with a seamless 3D mesh base, and Huawei claims can “blend in with any home decor easily”.
Alongside the AI Cube, the company is also introducing the Huawei Locator, a small, rugged, location beacon. Rated IP68, the Locator supports four global navigation satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou. Using a nano SIM or eSIM, it can stay connected with global roaming support, and offers “near-real-time location reporting”. It features an SOS button and Geofence capabilities, in addition to “BLE Found, a proximity-based service that triggers a buzzer alarm on HUAWEI Locator when a paired smartphone is within 10 meters from the device“.