Xiaomi tackles Amazon's Echo with the $45 USD Mi AI

Xiaomi has unveiled its own smart speaker system in the form of the Mi AI; a $45 USD challenger to the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Amazon Echo and Google Home have managed to entrench themselves in the US market, and even Apple has waded into the realm of smart speakers with the debut of the HomePod. Now, Chinese giant Xiaomi has announced its own offering in the form of the Mi AI.
The Mi AI – similarly to Amazon’s cylindrical Echo unit – features a six-microphone array to detect voice commands. The system leverages its own AI to handle queries pertaining to not only the news or the weather, but further to calendar reminders and other input from third-party apps.
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The premise around the Mi AI speaker is two-fold; firstly, the device retails at just $45 USD when converted from Yuan; meaning that the device will similarly leverage its ‘affordability’ factor to succeed in markets, as many of Xiaomi’s smart devices do.
Secondly, Mi AI will serve as a new, connected center for Xiaomi’s Mi range of connected devices, including the Mi TV, Mi Box, and even the Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner.
Chinese consumers who queue to be one of the first 1,000 purchasers of the device will be able to purchase the device for just one Yuan, should they be willing to help train the device as part of the company’s Mi AI Speaker beta. Xiaomi hasn’t yet confirmed whether the device will go on sale in international markets.
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What are your thoughts? Is there room in the market for a well-priced smart speaker system? Can the Mi AI potentially usurp Amazon’s Echo if it were brought to international markets?
Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA