Chinese tech giants Baidu and Ainemo took to this year’s CES to unveil Little Fish, a tiny robot designed for home automation and assistance. Little Fish was manufactured by Ainemo and is powered by Baidu’s conversational DuerOS. The two Chinese firms are hoping their joint creation will not only compete with other robot helpers, but also with connected speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Little Fish will launch in China in spring, priced at an equivalent of $300. There’s still no information on whether this device will ever be available in other markets.
Little Fish is equipped with a display that it utilizes to provide users with information and hints for interacting with Baidu’s AI-powered operating system. The robot supports traditional voice commands and can be ordered to perform all kinds of tasks supported by other contemporary digital assistants. Among other things, users can tell Little Fish to play music, set an alarm, provide them with updates on news and traffic, or remind them of their responsibilities. The device is also capable of operating other Internet of Things devices and is equipped with a camera and a microphone which allow it to make and receive video calls. The most prominent feature of Little Fish is its display which seems larger than what one would usually find in other modern desktop assistants. Neither Baidu nor Ainemo have yet revealed the exact specifics of the Little Fish’s display, but first promotional images of the product suggest it’s at least six inches in size diagonally.
Seeing how Baidu’s DuerOS supports thousands of various services in China, Little Fish will be able to do everything from ordering movie tickets and calling a cab to making a restaurant reservation and requesting cleaning services. The robot’s default trigger words are “Xiaoyu” and “Xiaoyu Zaijia,” the latter of which directly translates to “Little Fish.” While Baidu already started localizing a broad range of its services to English, the company’s DuerOS reportedly still isn’t ready to interact with users in English. Due to that state of affairs, it seems unlikely that Little Fish will make its way to the West anytime soon. In fact, it’s probably more realistic to expect a new, English-speaking generation of this product in some unspecified future.