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Huawei’s AI Cube smart assistant doubles as a fast router



Woo-hoo, another smart speaker!
Woo-hoo, another smart speaker!

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

Does the world need yet another smart speaker? Probably not, but Huawei’s AI Cube, unveiled at the IFA trade show in Berlin on Friday, at least offers something a little different. 

The AI Cube is an Alexa-powered smart speaker that also doubles as a 4G router, which makes sense given Huawei’s expertise in building communications equipment. 

Design-wise, the AI Cube looks like a taller Google Home, with a set of control buttons on top. It won’t hurt your eyes, but Huawei’s not winning any originality awards for this one (also, you’d expect it to be a cube instead of a cylinder, but we’ll let that one slide). 

It’s not small: it weighs 900g and is 218mm tall. It’s got four microphones for voice input and only a single, 15W mono speaker, so don’t expect some crazy stereo surround effects here. Huawei says that its large, 400ml sound cavity increases the audio quality, and Huawei’s Histen set of technologies, which includes stuff like virtual bass, adaptive gain control and a linear phase equalizer, should help improve the sound as well. 

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

The connectivity tech inside of the AI Cube makes it a little more interesting. There’s an LTE Cat 6 modem and a 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter inside, which make this device a pretty capable home router. My guess is that, down the line, telecoms will offer the AI Cube together with internet plans — either as an upsell or an upgrade of a regular, boring home router. 

The AI Cube will be launched in Europe first, during this Christmas season. It’s not coming to the U.S. and it’s not coming to China, at least not in this iteration. Prices will be announced at a later date. 

Alongside the AI Cube, Huawei also launched the Locator, a small device you can clip onto your pet, kid or valuable thing (like a bike) and receive information on where it is. It’s got precise positioning (less than 5 meters error) thanks to GPS/Glonass/Galileo/Beidou support, supports global roaming and is IP68 dust and water resistant. Basically, wherever it goes, it should keep working and informing you of its position. 

Huawei Locator

Huawei Locator

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

Other features include an SOS button and the possibility to set up a geofence (from 50 – 2000 meters), so that you get a notification when the Locator leaves a certain area. It’s launching in Europe first, and there’s no word on price. 

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