At IFA 2018 in Berlin, Huawei has taken the wraps off its latest connected home device, the Huawei AI Cube. It's equipped with Amazon's Alexa, includes a powerful speaker and 4G connectivity, and is not a cube.
That's right, the Huawei AI Cube is actually a cylinder. Let's take a second to deal with that and move on. Here it is:
Physically, the Huawei AI Cube is shaped like an elongated Google Home, complete with fuzzy speaker grille down below, and a section that lights up when interacting via voice. But it manages to pack in a bit more functionality than Google's gadget, including a fully-fledged LTE modem/router and a larger speaker chamber that should justify what'll likely be a price tag far beyond entry-level smart speakers. A 15-watt speaker provides ample oomph for music playback, backed up by Huawei's HiSten software for faithful audio reproduction. Meanwhile, four far-field mics help Amazon's Alexa assistant respond to your commands.
Huawei isn't promoting any unique Alexa skills in this particular speaker, however the AI branding is clearly intended to gel with Huawei's other ventures into artificial intelligence, like its AI-equipped smartphone hardware. Nevertheless, all the usual Alexa commands around smart home control and media playback should work just fine, assuming you're in a supported region.
The AI Cube can also work as a mobile router, though since there's no built-in battery you'll still need to be within cord reach of a power outlet. Huawei claims cellular data speeds of up to 300Mbps, with Wi-Fi throughput up to 1200Mbps over 802.11ac.
The Huawei AI Cube will roll its way onto European store shelves in time for the holidays.
Alongside the AI Cube, Huawei also showcased a new cellular-connected tracking device, the Huawei Locator. Designed with kids, pets or luggage in mind, the fob-sized gadget can stay connected for up to 15 days per charge. The tracker features IP68-rated water and dust resistance, and can be tracked across international borders thanks to its global roaming support.