Huawei is working on a voice assistant to challenge Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in the West
At IFA 2018, Huawei showed they were dipping their toe in the smart speaker market when they showed off a product the company called the Huawei AI Cube. The speaker uses their own personal virtual assistant called “Xiaoyi” which is both available on their smartphones and this AI Cube device. The thing is, this has only been developed for and is only available in the Chinese market. Outside of China, the company has leveraged Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but a new report quotes the CEO who says they are working on their own voice assistant which will be made available outside of their home country.
The smartphone speaker and personal voice assistant market have continued to grow with multiple companies throwing their hats in the ring. Amazon had a head start in the smart speaker department with Alexa and its Echo devices, but Apple has had Siri since the iPhone 4S days. Since then we’ve seen companies including Microsoft, LG, Samsung, and more, bring their own smart speaker to the market with some of these companies even developing its own virtual personal assistant.
Just like how Google launched Google Assistant in the United States, it made sense for Huawei to launch their own voice assistant in China. And as we’ve seen with both of these companies they have expanded into other countries and other languages. The CEO of Huawei, Richard Yu, has told CNBC in an interview that while Xiaoyi currently only works in Chinese, they plan on bringing it to the western market in the future. These things take time to get right and first impressions are everything, so it makes sense that they are working hard in an attempt to get things right the first time around.
Currently, the company is working on enhancing Xiaoyi’s AI capabilities but Mr. Yu confirmed they are definitely planning on bringing the virtual assistant to other countries outside of China.