We’ve known for a little while that Huawei was going to bring out a smart speaker. Now it has officially announced the device at IFA 2018 and, pleasingly, Huawei has opted for Amazon Alexa rather than attempting to create its own smart assistant.
We can only assume that the 22cm AI Cube was originally a Cube but the name stuck. It doesn’t yet have a release date or a price.
It’s also interesting in a few other ways, notably that it can act as an 802.11ac Wi-Fi router for your devices (yes, it is dual-band on 2.4 and 5Ghz). But it doesn’t rely on your fixed line broadband connection; it can take a 4G SIM card to enable connectivity wherever you like.
The speaker isn’t able to be battery powered though, so you will need to plug it into the mains to use it; this isn’t a smart speaker you can take camping. To be fair to Huawei, all its materials for the Cube indicate that it is a device designed for use in the home.
In terms of sound power, the demo we heard certainly places it in the same class as the Amazon Echo Plus, so it will be interesting to find out its price point. It is likely to be more expensive than that device though, given the router and 4G elements. There are only four microphones, so we’re also interested to see if the voice recognition is as good as other Alexa-toting devices, many of which have more microphones.
Huawei has also announced the waterproof Huawei Locator, a location beacon that works with all the major navigation networks and can also take a SIM card. While surely designed with adventurers in mind, there are bound to be plenty of possibilities with the device – not least tracking your kids.
Check out our guide to the best Alexa devices