Alibaba Takes On Amazon With Smart Speaker

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Alibaba has unveiled a new smart speaker similar to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, called the Tmall Genie.

Powered by the company’s own voice assistant AliGenie, the device functions similarly to other smart speakers on the market, allowing users to ask about the news or weather, listen to music and control other smart home devices all using voice control.

At least initially, Tmall Genie is only able to understand and respond in Mandarin. Like “OK Google” for the Google Home and other Android devices as well as “Hey Alexa” for the Amazon Echo, the Tmall Genie also has its own phrase to initiate a request, which is simply the name of the device in Mandarin.

The company appears to have taken some inspiration for the design of the Tmall Genie from both Amazon and Google. It features a cylindrical design with a light ring similar to the Echo, and what appears to be a speaker fabric cover similar to the Home, most evident in the white version of the Genie.

Tmall Genie White Alibaba Takes On Amazon With Smart Speaker

One big difference between the devices is price: the Tmall Genie will retail for about $97, significantly less than Google Home’s price of around $170 and Amazon Echo’s price of around $237.

As Australia waits for its first official smart speaker launch, the Tmall Genie probably won’t be making its way outside of China anytime soon. Meanwhile, Google announced in May that it would be bringing Google Home to other regions including Australia mid-year, and Apple’s smart speaker is set to launch locally by the end of the year.

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