Smart speakers have a massive market in the west with a complete ecosystem developed around them. Amazon Echo and Google Home are the biggest players in the market as of now, and Apple will soon be bringing its HomePod to the market. The market in India as well as China isn’t as mature and lacks integration of many of the services widely used here.
The case is specifically different for China because of many restrictions on the services offered by global tech giants. That’s where the local Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi come into the picture. Sensing a need for smart speakers in the country, Xiaomi today announced their Mi AI smart speaker, which is essentially like any other AI-powered speaker in other markets but will be based on Xiaomi’s own platform.
And as you’d guess, the speaker has been priced much below the point Google Home and Amazon Echo are available at. Xiaomi Mi AI speaker will retail for RMB 299 or 45 USD. In comparison, Google Home retails for $129, while the Amazon Echo is available for $179. Though, these two speakers have a well-developed ecosystem that expands their usage capabilities.
As a device, the Mi AI speaker is a pretty solid product from the Chinese vendor. It comes with a six-microphone setup that ensures better voice capture and eliminates echo if any. The speaker can also be controlled using the five buttons placed on its top that are- disable microphone, previous, next, play, and CH.
In terms of looks, the Mi AI is reminiscent of the Amazon Echo, mainly because of its tower design. The Xiaomi speaker has a squarish design with its main speaker placed at the bottom. The LED light on the top rim is also quite similar to the Amazon speaker.
Like most of the smart speakers, the Mi AI can also get your tasks done using your voice commands only. Use it to play music, ask about weather or traffic, control lights and home appliances, take notes, set alarms, and much more. The speaker’s platform is still in beta and will get smarter as developers add more capabilities to it. The companion app for the speaker will allow you to add a few more features using the available plug-ins and add-ons.
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