Alibaba is getting ready to launch its own entry in the growing smart home assistant market.
Called the Tmall Genie X1, the device is similar in form and function to the Amazon Echo – a small, cylindrical device that revolves around voice interaction. It can stream music, control smart home devices, answer questions, and perform other common AI assistant tasks, thanks to Alibaba’s AliGenie platform. AliGenie can also recognize user’s voice biometrics, allowing them to place orders through Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce site via voice command.
Offering only Chinese language functionality, the device is being positioned not so much as a rival to Amazon’s Echo as a low-cost competitor against domestic rivals like Baidu’s Xiaoyu and the LingLong DingDong. Tencent is also thought to be preparing its own such device, and Baidu recently launched a voice-based AI platform called DuerOS.
Tmall Genie X1 is slated to launch in China on August 8th, with a limited beta starting later this month.
Sources: Bloomberg, The Verge, Yahoo Finance, BBC News