Forget Google and Amazon. Line’s Trying to Beat Them All With These Cute Smart Speakers

Line has announced that they’d focus more on artificial intelligence (AI). The Japan-based company focusing on instant messaging has begun their foray by developing a new core service called Clova, an internet-based AI system or “virtual assistant.”

The platform will be incorporated into Line’s own range of smart speakers, which are made to compete with the likes of Google Home, Amazon’s Echo range and Apple’s HomePod. The first series is called the Wave, and will be followed by the Champ that will easily beat its competitors when it comes to its appearance.

The Champ speakers, described as a “more casual and more portable version” of the Wave speaker, are modeled after two of Line’s most famous characters, Brown the bear and Sally the chick. But the two types of speakers will share similar features.

Both are controlled by voice, and are able to provide information on weather as well as on their users’ calendar appointment and to-do lists. Users can also control their Line chats through the speakers and have “casual conversations” with Clova. Additionally, the speakers will provide instant access to the Line Music streaming service and recommend music based on the users’ mood and environment.

Line’s the Wave will launch its first version, which can only play music, this summer. It goes on sale for 10,000 Yen ($91). The updated version boasting Clova’s smart features is coming later this year for 15,000 yen ($136). Meanwhile, the Champ speakers are expected to hit the stores in winter, but the prices are yet to be announced.

 

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