Huawei on Friday teased a new AI-equipped smart speaker at its Mate 20 event in Shanghai — and although it’s a new device, it looks oddly familiar.
Roughly translated from Chinese, the smart device is dubbed the Huawei AI Speaker, according to Engadget. And if you haven’t noticed by now, it’s pretty much a blatant copy of Apple’s HomePod.
It sports a rounded design with what looks like meshy fabric covering it, akin to Apple’s high-end offering. While a Siri interface lives on the top of HomePod, the Huawei AI speaker has physical volume, mute and call buttons.
The device may look like HomePod, but it doesn’t share that device’s price tag. While HomePod retails for $349, the Huawei AI speaker will run customers 399 yuan (about $60 in U.S. currency).
As far as other specifications, the smart speaker features a 2.25-inch high-fidelity, 10W speaker and six microphones. It also packs Huawei’s “Histen” music equalization algorithm. It comes in gray and white.
While the Huawei AI speaker is not the company’s first foray into the smart speaker realm, it is the first device to feature the company’s first-party Xiaoyi digital voice assistant.
Xiaoyi won’t work in English, and currently, the company doesn’t appear to have plans for a global release. But the Huawei AI speaker may represent a cheaper alternative to HomePod in Huawei’s home market. There’s no indication as far as a launch date in China.
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This isn’t the first time a Huawei speaker has raised eyebrows due to its similarity to another device. Back in August, the Chinese OEM unveiled a smart speaker called the AI Cube. Confusingly, the speaker isn’t cube-shaped at all. Instead, it looks vaguely like an elongated Google Home.
That speaker packed Amazon Alexa as its primary voice assistant. Interestingly, besides being a smart speaker, the AI Cube was also a 4G modem and Wi-Fi router.
Huawei recently overtook Apple as the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer, but the Chinese firm has yet to gain any significant foothold in the U.S. (partly due to concerns about espionage).
It’s also obviously attempting to catch-up to firms like Apple, Samsung and Google when it comes to the smart speaker market. Judging by the company’s first two speakers, it definitely shows.