China has got its first voice-activated smart home speaker and it is called LingLong DingDong. DingDong is the first product from Beijing LingLong Co., which is a joint venture between JD.com and iFlytek. DingDong smart speaker, which understands Mandarin and Cantonese, is the company’s answer to Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
A report in Wired points out, “The company claims the DingDong understands roughly 95 per cent of the population.” Interestingly, the site quotes a report that says China’s smart home market could hit $22.8 billion by 2018. LingLong DingDong weighs close to 1.3 kgs and is available in white, black, red and purple colour variants. The device is 9.5 inches tall and costs $118 (Rs 8,000 approx).
LingLong DingDong, just like its rivals, can be used to control home appliances, play music, inquire about weather, traffic and stocks, as well as shop online. “The makers of DingDong have also been promoting its educational tools, including being programmed with simple English lessons for children developed by a private education company,” says a report in BBC. According to Wired, LingLong has opened its voice service platform for third-party developers to fully explore its potential. The report adds LingLong is looking to add artificial intelligence to DingDong as well to make it more competent and take on Echo.
Amazon Echo was launched in 2014 and can perform several tasks such as place orders, suggest restaurants for a night-out, give out reminders as well interact with other smart home accessories. Google launched its own home speaker powered by the new AI-based Google Assistant at its annual I/O developer conference this year. Google Home is an Internet-connected speaker that listens for your voice commands to play music or control lights and thermostats in the home.
According to Wired report, LingLong hopes to work with Amazon to put DingDong into Echo. This could pave the way for Amazon to bring Echo into the Chinese market. The site quoted Lv Fang, head of sales and marketing, who said, “If they want to sell the Echo in China, maybe they will use our voice engine.”