The speaker, priced at RMB 599 (around US$ 95), is Baidu’s answer to Echo Show, the Alexa-powered smart speaker with 7’’ screen by Amazon.
XiaoDu ZaiJia was actually developed on the year 2015 product from a company Baidu previously invested into, called XiaoYu ZaiJia, or Little Fish at Home.
Baidu’s investment with the company was one of many in its bid to carry on the “All in AI” strategy. We reported last week Baidu shelled out RMB over 1 billion yuan (around US$ 159.5 million) for a stake of 11% in internet-based smart TV maker Coocaa in a similar push to build up an alliance with a hardware manufacturer that will put Baidu’s AI technologies into real-world use.
The newly marketed speaker, just like future models of Coocaa internet TVs, will run Baidu’s DuerOS, which integrates rich apps developed by third-parties.
It seems that Baidu is looking to build up an AI ecosystem through investments into smart devices makers, especially those interact with people frequently on a day-to-day basis, such as TVs or speakers.
Baidu has set its eyes on establishing the AI scene in China with big plans for the future. Its focus on AI was evident when it sold off their food delivery service Baidu Waimai and detached its healthcare department to become a subsidiary, both in 2017. Last summer, to draw attention to Baidu’s self-driving technologies, Robin Li, CEO and founder of Baidu, showcased the future of self-driving cars by live-streaming from the front seat of a car that was maneuvering itself on Beijing’s traffic-clogged streets.