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It's an Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker launched at the IFA 2018 event in Berlin. Perhaps Huawei's combination of audio quality, wireless connectivity and Alexa smarts will be enough for the AI Cube to carve out a space for itself in the crowded smart speaker market, but it seems like it's going to be a while before USA users find out. Huawei's new speaker is an Alexa-packing, 4G smart speaker that doesn't play by "the rules".

Build is minimalistic, with ports hidden underneath the base, which is 218mm tall, and 116mm in diameter.

The VQ Hepburn Alexa will be available in black, grey and white finishes for £150. Behind the fabric covering is a single aluminium driver coupled with a pair of bass radiators to help reinforce the low frequencies.

Everybody is getting into the smart speaker game, Amazon, Google, Apple and more recently Samsung. There are voice and mute keys on top, along with volume controls.

The AI Cube's cylindrical design is sleek and minimalist, and the speaker looks a lot like Bose's SoundLink Revolve and Revolve+ Bluetooth speakers. Set into the base are power and Ethernet connections.

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So why this over an Echo or any other Alexa-powered smart speaker system? There's an LTE Cat 6 modem and a 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter inside, which make this device a pretty capable home router.

Pop a SIM card into the speaker and you can take it absolutely anywhere and use the speaker's smart functions without worry about connecting it to a wireless network. It's also called the Cube, despite being somewhat conical in shape. Not only can it connect to your Wi-Fi network, but it can also create its own connection via 4G.

Still, it's at least Huawei's approach is something different in what is rapidly becoming an avalanche of smart speaker devices.

Huawei hasn't revealed the pricing of the AI Cuba at the event, but it did mention that the speaker will start shipping in Europe during the Christmas season. Its success will hinge on two far more prosaic elements: sound quality and price, neither of which I know much about right now.

The AI Cube, which now supports three languages - English, German and French is likely to hit the stores first in Europe towards the end of this year.


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