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26 July 2017

Xiaomi has a smart speaker too, and it’s crazy cheap

It’s pretty much becoming mandatory for a major tech company to have its own smart speaker, with the current lineup including Amazon Echo (and its siblings) and Google Home, as well as Microsoft Invoke and Apple HomePod (which have been announced but aren’t out yet).

You can now add to that list the Xiaomi Mi AI, which has one big advantage over all of them: It’s a lot cheaper.

Announced by Xiaomi on Wednesday, the Mi AI offers six-microphone 360-degree audio sensing, stereo sound, and the ability to tap into third-party services and stream music, take calls, remind you of important events etc. 

It all costs only 299 RMB or $45, but there’s a caveat: The Mi AI will initially only be available in China with an August launch date. 

While for modern smartphones that isn’t a total deal breaker, we doubt all (or even most) of Mi AI’s functionality will work outside of China, so don’t pull your credit cards out just yet. 

It is, however, cool to see Xiaomi launch products with premium features that cost a fraction of the price of their western counterparts. 

For comparison, Google Home costs $129. Amazon Echo costs $179.99 and Apple’s HomePod will retail for $349. Amazon does have a comparably cheap smart speaker, the Echo Dot, which costs $49.99, but the Mi AI has a richer set of features.

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