Displaying items by tag: Amazon Echo

Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba has taken its first venture into developing artificial intelligence home devices by launching its voice assistant speaker, which has drawn comparisons to Amazon’s ‘Echo’.

Alibaba’s voice assistant which will be a low-cost device has been named ‘The T-mall Genie’ after its e-commerce platform T-mall. It will retail at $73.42 which is significantly less than that of its US competitors Amazon and Google’s Alphabet which range between $120-$180 dollars. 

The ‘smart home’ voice assistants are activated by voice commands to perform daily tasks such as searching for weather reports, changing music, using AI to control other ‘smart home’ devices. China’s top technology firms have all expressed their ambitions to become global leaders in relation to AI – which has been evidenced by companies like Amazon and Alibaba increasingly competing in the same markets.

China’s search engine colossus Baidu, has also invested heavily in emerging technologies, and recently announced its investment with the Chinese government for an artificial intelligence lab, whilst it recently launched its own device which was based on its own Siri-like ‘Duer OS system’.

Alibaba’s ‘T-mall Genie has been specifically programmed to use Mandarin as its language and will only be available in China. It is activated when a user recognized by the system utters the words ‘T-mall Genie’ in Chinese. In a demonstration which was streamed live, engineers ordered the device to perform a series of tasks such as order some Coco-Cola, play music, add credit to a phone and activate a smart humidifier and TV.

In addition to its foray into AI devices, Alibaba has continued to invest heavily in offline stores and big data capabilities in an effort to capitalize on the entire supply chain as part of its retail strategy. Analysts have claimed it has striking similarities to strategies already adopted by Amazon.

Published in Internet of Things

One of the many exciting announcements made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 5-7, 2017, came from Chinese computer manufacturing company Lenovo, which announced the launch of its new ‘Smart Assistant’ powered by Amazon’s ‘Alexa’. Lenovo is the latest company to join the market for voice-activated devices, and its Smart Assistant comes at a reasonable price.

Lenovo’s new Smart Assistant will sell for $129, and will compete with Amazon’s Echo speakers using the artificial intelligence developed by Amazon. The smart home assistant was reportedly built in collaboration with Amazon, and is able to recognize “users’ voice commands to conduct web searches, play music, create lists, calendar reminders and much more,” Lenovo said in a statement.

The Smart Assistant was announced just ahead of CES 2017, along with a vast array of exciting tech showcases. Lenovo’s product risks being overshadowed by other similar devices, such as Google’s smart home product which can respond to questions and voice commands and connect to smart appliances, enabling the user to set a thermostat or turn on an oven remotely.

Lenovo’s senior vice president for personal computers and smart devices, Johnson Jia, said, “Our goal has never been to simply build smart home devices for the sake of advancing computers and smart devices. In the same way a person’s IQ is measured by applied knowledge, we believe products are ‘smart’ to the degree they’re actually understood and applied to daily life by their users.”

Amazon is said to be “excited to work with an innovative company such as Lenovo to bring the Lenovo Smart Assistant with Alexa to customers this spring,” said Amazon’s vice president for Amazon Alexa, Steve Rabuchin. The Lenovo Smart Assistant is expected to be available for purchase in May 2017.

Published in Internet of Things

LG had big plans for CES 2017 and didn’t disappoint the crowds. The South Korean tech giant unveiled its latest innovative robotic helpers that go far beyond your average kitchen appliances. LG’s Hub Robot, for example, was revealed as well as its Mini-sized counterpart. The robots can control smart home devices, play music, offer advice on commuting times, and overall make life a bit easier. LG appears to be competing with the Amazon Echo, by also revealing its Airbot assistant.

The LG Hub Robot features a circular "face" with a screen displaying what looks like eyes perched atop a white body. The robot can re-orient itself to face the user and move along to music that it’s playing. The screen can also display images and videos, although how exactly it accesses these wasn’t disclosed by LG.

LG’s Airbot is able to guide wayward travelers through busy airports. It can also provide useful travel information on its large display, and talk you through steps to get through an airport when you get lost – perfect for traveling children. The Airbot is already being used by travelers at South Korea’s Incheon airport, according to reports, so it seems likely that we could see it in action in other airports around the world in the future.

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee of when that will happen, or how much the robots will cost. LG hasn’t revealed such details yet. LG has teased the Hub Robot before, and also announced other home appliances at the press conference, including a smart fridge featuring Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, and a robot lawnmower.

Published in Gadget