Smart speakers are the latest rage in the technology world these days with many companies announcing their plans of releasing such devices. The trend started after Amazon launched its Alexa-powered Echo smart speaker. However, soon after Amazon’s product hit shelves, Google joined in the competition with Google Home. Since then, both these devices have managed to dominate the Smart Speaker market.

In early June, during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple showed its intention of joining the smart speaker business after it announced the HomePod, its very own Siri-powered device.

The starting price of the HomePod will be $349 at launch, which may sound steep to many customers, especially when other products such as Amazon Echo is available for nearly half the price. Now, another company has launched its own smart speaker, which looks to compete against other smart speakers, both in terms of specs and price.

Xiaomi Mi AI Speaker

Xiaomi has unveiled a new smart speaker, named the Mi AI Speaker, during a recent event in New York. The company also unveiled the much-awaited mid-range handset, the Mi 5X. The speaker features a six microphone array, which enables it to pick up the user’s voice from all sides. It also comes equipped with echo-cancellation technology, which will ensure that errors while picking up a command are minimized.

The company revealed that the device will act as a hub for all Xiaomi smart home products, which currently stands at 60 million different connected devices, including a vacuum cleaner, air freshener, rice cooker, and many more. Among other important features for the device, the Mi AI Speaker will also be able to stream music, radio over the internet, audio book playback, and will even support plugins that lets the voice command be used for third party applications.

Similar to other products, the Xiaomi device will also be able to answer queries made by the user such as weather details, traffic conditions, and more. The smart speaker will be able to set alarms and control smart home appliances. However, the specs alone will not help the device sell in the market and it must also sport a reasonable price.

Price and availability

Initially, the Mi AI Speaker will be available only in China; however, it is highly likely that it will reach other countries including the U.S. soon. The price of the latest device is 299 Chinese Yuan, or $45. Comparatively, the Amazon Echo boasts a price tag of $179.99, while the Google Home costs $129.99. The Echo Dot at $49.99 is perhaps the most comparable but it is still $5 more than the Xiaomi speaker.