HUAWEI COULD BE PLANNING to integrate its own voice assistant into existing home WiFi routers.
While Apple just released its own home assistant powered by Siri, dubbed the HomePod, to rival Amazon Echo and Google Home, other companies are also looking to join the fray.
It has been suggested that Samsung wants to release its own AI-powered smart speaker device using the Bixby voice assistant, while Bloomberg reported in February that Huawei began working on a voice assistant for its home market of China, perhaps as a catalyst for its own smart speaker.
But Huawei, which assigned more than a hundred engineers to develop the technology, has been coy on its plans for its voice assistant; currently, it is likely to compete with the voice assistants seen on smartphones such as Samsung's Bixby, Apple's Siri and Google Assistant.
However, Huawei's consumer business chief operating officer, Wan Biao, suggested that the voice assistant could be integrated into an existing product.
"Huawei has already been exploiting in this field, for example, Huawei's WiFi routers are very good products for homes," he told CNBC at CES Asia in Shanghai.
"We are considering enriching the functions of these router products to include such as voice searching and data storing functions," he added.
If Huawei does release a voice-integrated WiFi router, it would be unlikely to compete globally against Amazon Echo and Google Home because it will initially be for a Chinese audience.
Last week, Apple revealed the HomePod. Its 7in tall, and comes equipped with Apple's A8 processor, and a 4in subwoofer.
As well as reading out the news and sending iMessages, like Siri on iPhones, the HomePad's Siri will also act as a "musicologist" that will help users to discover new music. The HomePod will be available from December, priced at $349 in the US - UK pricing is yet to be announced. µ
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