Voice assistant speaker devices are one of the hottest trends of the moment, with the likes of Google Home, Apple’s new Siri-enabled Home speaker or Amazon’s Echo, which is currently the best selling AI-powered device, becoming more and more present in our lives. And the fact that other companies want to join the game doesn’t come as a surprise!
Will Alibaba become an important player?
Alibaba, one of the largest e-commerce retailers, just announced the TMall Genie, which can be easily called the Amazon Echo of China, says GSM Arena.
In terms of design, it resembles a lot Amazon’s device, rocking a cylindrical form factor, with omni-directional speakers, as well as LED lights, which indicate the status.
As for the voice assistant, the TMall Genie features AliGenie, which can perform a wide array of actions, just like its competitors. Using the wake word, “TMall Genie” (just in Mandarin, at least for the moment) you can ask it to perform various tasks, including ordering from TMall. And don’t worry, as it uses voiceprint recognition, in order to authorize the person placing the order.
It’s smart-home enabled too!
And we’re not done yet, since it can be used to control smart home appliances, as well as ask for information about the weather, news or listen to your favorite tracks. A full list of commands was made available and it can be accessed here. But, again, it’s in Mandarin.
The TMall Genie will initially be launched in China, as a limited beta, with a price tag of CNY 500, which is around $73. Anybody who wants the assistant can sign up for it, while the units should eventually start shipping in less than two weeks.