Huawei targets different approach for voice assistant - Mobile World Live

Huawei targets different approach for voice assistant

09 JUN 2017

Huawei revealed it could integrate its own voice assistant, currently in development, into existing home Wi-Fi routers as a way to compete with smart speakers emerging on the market.

Bloomberg reported in February Huawei was in the early stages of developing a voice controlled digital assistant for its home market of China, and had assigned more than a hundred engineers to develop the technology.

The move would see a Huawei voice assistant join the likes of Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa on the market.

In a bid to boost the reach of their voice assistants, Amazon and Google have launched smart speakers for the home, allowing users to interact with the service. Apple this week also confirmed it will enter the market, with its HomePod due to launch later this year.

Speaking to CNBC at CES Asia in Shanghai, Huawei’s consumer business COO Wan Biao did not say whether the company was also working on a smart speaker, but noted the system could be integrated into an existing product.

“Huawei has already been exploiting in this field, for example, Huawei’s Wi-Fi routers are very good products for homes,” he told CNBC, adding: “And we are considering enriching the functions of these router products, to include such as voice searching and data storing functions.”

While western rivals’ voice assistants all specialise on the English language, Huawei’s Chinese offering would mean it is not directly competing with the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon.

Biao also confirmed the company would continue to focus on working with Google for its smartphones, which run on Android software.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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