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Baidu launches three new smart speakers that don’t need Alexa or Google Assistant

Baidu is one of the biggest web companies in China, so naturally, it’s trying to take over the smart assistant market there, just as Google and Amazon are in the US. To that end, Baidu is introducing three new smart speakers today, all with very different core functions: there’s a lamp, a ceiling-mounted projector, and a screen that’s a lot like an Echo Show.

The smart screen is called the Little Fish VS1. It’s a tinier version of the original Little Fish, which came out at this time last year. The VS1 looks like what would happen if Google made an Echo Show: the device has a wedge shape with the screen on top and room for a speaker on bottom, and it’s wrapped in fabric. It’ll come in white, black, red, and sort of a turquoise green.

The Little Fish VS1 has all the features you’d expect a device like this to have, just with the services geared toward China (so yeah, probably no YouTube here either). One neat touch is that it’s supposed to have facial recognition, although that might not be any better than the voice recognition most smart speakers have. It’s supposed to launch in China this March.

Baidu’s next product is a smart lamp / speaker called Sengled. It does all the things you’d except a smart speaker to do, but it’s also able to change colors, since it’s a smart light. It’s supposed to range across the color spectrum, so it can do more than just shades of white.

And finally, there’s the PopIn Aladdin, named for Baidu’s Japanese subsidiary, PopIn. The Aladdin is one of the more unique smart speakers: it’s meant to be mounted on the ceiling, where it serves as a light, a smart speaker, and a projector all in one. Baidu says it’s designed for smaller households. It will launch in Japan this July.

The products are all running a new version of Baidu’s DuerOS, called DuerOS 2.0, which was unveiled back in November.

Baidu hasn’t said anything about when or if these products will head to the US, which makes enough sense; these products are built around a Chinese language voice assistant. That said, we’d still love to see one Baidu product in particular head worldwide: the Raven H smart speaker, which was co-designed by the team at Teenage Engineering. It has one of the most striking smart speaker designs out there, but it’s limited to China and running DuerOS for the time being.

Source: theverge.com

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