The smart speaker is a trending product in the smart home market, with constant updates of related stories. And the latest piece comes from Motorola, which is reportedly working on a smart speaker powered by Baidu’s smart platform DuerOS.
DuerOS is a suite of software developer kits, APIs and turnkey solutions made for original equipment manufacturers. According to AndroidPure, the speaker is now selling on Baidu’s online store and available at 89 Renminbi.
In addition to proclaimed superior audio quality, the smart speaker can provide general information like the news, weather, stock updates, etc., and has timer and smart home control functionality. Users can control appliances from Haier, BroadLink, Lifesmart, Tuya, Orvibo, and more, via voice commands.
The AI in the speaker can calculate math, perform unit conversion, translate from Chinese to English, among other capabilities. Among the voice commands it understands are “What’s today news,” “Help me set a reminder or start a countdown for 5 minutes,” and “Which festival is today?”
It has a Children mode that will kick in automatically when it detects a child is asking questions, before serving up a library of kid-friendly audiobooks and music.
According to AndroidPure, the Motorola smart speaker has a volume range of 80Hz-14kHz, supporting audio streaming via DLNA. The speaker is 90mm in diameter and weights 280 grams. There are also control buttons for different operation modes on the top of the speaker, and it comes with a 12V/1A charger.
It uses an ARM Cortex A53 processor running at 1.75GHz and the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity.
Voice Interface Gains Momentum
Voice-controlled smart speakers, including Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, are experiencing a meteoric rise not seen since tablets. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) expects the category to sell 39.2 million units in 2018 (44% growth over 2017) and reach US$3.2 billion in revenue (64% growth) after only three years on the market.
One reason smart speaker is gaining popularity is that people are more receptive to the voice interface. We need to interact with technologies nearly constantly, and increasingly with less-traditional devices, ranging from smartphones, smart speakers to autonomous cars and smart cities. Some of these connected devices do not or will not have screens or keyboards.
Speech-enabled interfaces are required for most of this new computing, because it allows users to more easily get what they want. Menu-less web navigation will become increasingly important. For all of this computing to take place, the technology is required to understand human inputs in the form of natural human language, complete tasks, and communicate back to humans in natural language.
“Innovations in AI, voice and connectivity are making tech devices more helpful and versatile, and changing our lives for the better,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA.
AI, voice-recognition technology and fast connectivity – critical ingredients for smart speakers, smart home technologies and smartphones – will help spur overall U.S. consumer technology industry revenue to US$377 billion in retail revenues in 2018, which is a 6% increase, according to the CTA.