Huawei makes first foray into smart speakers

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Huawei has made its debut in the smart speaker market with a new device equipped with Amazon's Alexa personal assistant and 4G connectivity.

The AI Cube supports up to 300MBps download speeds via an LTE SIM. It also supports 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

Through the Alexa software, users are able to play music, control smart home devices and access more than 50,000 services.

Huawei said the device, which has a 400ml sound cavity, also uses its Huawei Histen audio solution, which includes the likes of virtual bass, linear phae equaliser and voice recognition from a distance. No launch date was revealed. 

Pete Thompson, Vice President of the Alexa Voice Service, said: “The Huawei AI Cube combines several products into one while balancing smart functionality with high quality sound."

Deutsche Telekom also used the IFA event to start a trial of its smart speaker with 1,000 of its customers.

Huawei also used the launch to announce its Locator location beacon, which supports the GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou navigation standards.

It is compatible with nano-SIM and eSIM and delivers near real-time location reporting, as well as an SOS button, geofencing and an alert if a paired smartphone is within 10 metres of the device.

Additionally, Huawei used the IFA trade fair in Germany to launch its Kirin 980 7nm system on chip, which is said would deliver the best AI experience on smart devices.

The chip comprises 6.9 billion transistors on a square centimetre, which it said was 1.6 times that of a previous generation. It delivers a 20 percent improved performance and 40 percent improved power efficiency compared to a 10nm process.

The Kirin embeds Cortex-A76 based cores, which it said is more power and performance efficient than previous generations and could power multi-tasking, better user experiences and app launch times.

Huawei added it has improved its real-time artificial intelligence, gaming and photography functionalities through new processors.

It also supports Category 21 functionality with download speeds of up to 1.4GBps.

Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu said: "Last year, we showed the world the potential of On-Device AI with the Kirin 970, and this year, we’ve designed an all-round powerhouse that not only features outstanding AI capabilities, but also brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers."