Alexa-powered smart speakers like the Amazon Echo currently possess a huge chunk of the smart speaker market, according to a recent report by Voicebot.ai and Voysis. Now, Amazon's personal assistant seems to be gaining an even deeper role in your smart home as Huawei and Netgear have announced their respective routers that also function as Alexa-powered smart speakers at IFA 2018.
Netgear expanded its Orbi family of wireless mesh solutions earlier this year with the launch of a new model integrated with a cable modem. At this year's IFA event in Berlin, the company has added to the Orbi lineup by announcing the Orbi Voice, claimed to be the world's first mesh Wi-Fi system that doubles as an Alexa-powered smart speaker. Orbi Voice is part of the Orbi Wi-Fi system with a built-in microphone array and far-field voice recognition system.
As both a smart speaker and router, Orbi Voice allows you to play music, control your smart home devices, set the alarm, or check the weather by just using your voice while also improving the Wi-Fi reception in your household. The Wi-Fi system is supposed to cover up to 4,500 square feet or more with up to 3 Gigabits per second of internet speed coupled with Harman Kardon-powered audio, according to Netgear.
The Wi-Fi system also comes with a companion mobile app designed to let you control the treble and bass coming from the 3.5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter of the Orbi Voice. The Orbi app also helps you manage content and time spent online by your child, if any.
Meanwhile, Huawei also unveiled its AI Cube, a new Alexa-enabled speaker that also performs an LTE functionality via a 4G SIM card along with both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, according to TechCrunch. The speaker grille is placed at the bottom of the device. See the Huawei AI Cube in all its glory through the teaser video below:
There's no word yet on the pricing and availability of the Huawei AI Cube. On the other hand, Netgear's Orbi Wi-Fi system (RBK50V) will be shipped with a tri-band Wi-Fi router and the Orbi Voice smart speaker in late September for $429.99. It will also be available in the U.K. for £429.99 and in Europe for €499.99. If you have an existing Orbi Wi-Fi system, the Orbi Voice speaker and Wi-Fi mesh satellite (RBS40V) will be available this fall through Netgear's partners, resellers, online stores, and retailers for $299.99, £279.99 or € 329.99.