Huawei had a few announcements coming out of its keynote speech at IFA 2018 today, Not only did Huawei announce the Kirin 980, which is the company’s latest high-end, flagship chipset. But it also debuted the AI Cube. This is essentially a router that also is a smart speaker. This is similar to what NETGEAR did with Harman Kardon – and created the Orbi Voice. The AI Cube works as a 4G mobile internet router, which is much more popular in the east than it is in the west. This is going to allow users to use the device as a WiFi hub and always stay connected.
Now this does have Amazon Alexa built-in, which is a bit surprising, given that many other Chinese smartphone makers are creating their own personal assistants instead of using Amazon Alexa or even Google Assistant – that is largely due to the censorship in China, plus these assistants aren’t fluent in Mandarin. But this product isn’t heading to China, Huawei plans to release it in Europe later this year. And that renews the company’s recent push into Europe, after the US shunned them from selling smartphones and network equipment in the country.
The smart speaker market is set to be a pretty big market in the next few years, with analysts expecting it to balloon to around $17.4 billion by 2022. Right now, around 20-percent of households have a smart speaker, so there’s still plenty of room to grow. That’s something that Huawei realizes and wants to capitalize on. Though, Huawei is not alone. There were many smart speakers announced at IFA this week in Berlin. Many of which were sporting Google Assistant, which isn’t too surprising, given Google’s audience. But those that are focusing on smart home integration have been looking to use Amazon Alexa since it does integrate with more smart home products right now.