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Huawei's AI Cube isn't just an Alexa-powered smart speaker, it's a 4G LTE router too

HUAWEI is jumping headfirst into the smart speaker market with the HUAWEI AI Cube, announced today at IFA 2018.

Published onAugust 31, 2018

  • HUAWEI has revealed the AI Cube smart speaker.
  • The Google Home and Amazon Echo rival has built-in Amazon Alexa and can be used as a 4G LTE router.
  • The AI Cube was unveiled at IFA 2018 — pricing and exact availability have yet to be confirmed.

HUAWEI is jumping headfirst into the smart speaker market with the HUAWEI AI Cube, announced today at IFA 2018.

Unlike the Google Home, Amazon Echo, and other leading smart speakers, the AI Cube — which, let’s face it, is quite clearly a cylinder and not a cube — is being marketed as a “two-in-one speaker” which, in addition to packing in Amazon’s Alexa AI for voice commands, can also double up as a 4G LTE router.

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The AI Cube is outfitted with a 15W mono speaker, which HUAWEI promises is capable of delivering impressive audio performance, and four microphones. HUAWEI’s Histen technology is also baked into the device, which provides virtual bass, far-field voice recognition, adaptive gain control, and more.

In terms of how the AI-powered speaker looks, HUAWEI has kept things very simple to ensure the device blends naturally into its surroundings in the home. The speaker has a two-tone design comprised of a matte white body and colored mesh at the base. The AI Cube was shown off with either red and gray mesh on the IFA show floor.

We’ll no doubt be looking more into the build and sound quality of the AI Cube in the near future, but for now the biggest talking point is the speaker’s connectivity features.

In addition to Alexa support, which brings with it all the commands and skills associated with Amazon’s digital assistant, the AI Cube also supports Wi-Fi on 4G LTE to deliver LTE Category 6 download speeds of up to 300Mbps (on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels).

While this won’t be a huge selling point in some regions where cable broadband services are prevalent, HUAWEI may be able to carve out a niche for itself in countries where DSL services are expensive or, as is the case in HUAWEI’s home region of China, where consumers are heavily restricted on which services are available in any given location.

This could also play into HUAWEI’s favor when 5G technology — something the company is heavily invested in — hits the mainstream.

Unfortunately, HUAWEI has yet to reveal a few crucial details regarding its new smart speaker. The most obvious one is price, as we have no idea what the AI Cube will set you back when it eventually launches. Speaking of, we also don’t have any news on when or where the speaker will launch at the time of writing, although HUAWEI’s press release all-but-confirms the device will come to China and selected European countries. HUAWEI did confirm that it should be available before Christmas, but if you’re in the U.S., I wouldn’t hold out too much hope considering Huawei’s shaky relations with the U.S. government.

What do you make of HUAWEI’s smart speaker? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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