In July, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi jumped into the smart speaker race with its answer to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, the $45 Mi AI . Though it probably won’t find its way to American shores, given how had a time it’s had penetrating the US and European markets. Today, the company made a different move with artificial intelligence. It’s signing a deal with Microsoft to partner up on projects involving AI, cloud computing and hardware to help the device company expand into other markets.
The AI Plans
The details of the agreement have not yet been announced. But the press release says that one of the projects being considered is a Cortana-powered Mi AI speaker. The Mi AI is a budget-conscious smart speaker similar to the Google Home or Amazon Echo. Currently, the only Cortana-powered smart speaker on the market is the Harmon Kardon Invoke.
The Invoke currently costs around $150, putting it in a similar price tier as the Amazon Echo. The current version of the Mi AI costs about a third of that price. Though its availability is limited outside of China. It is likely that a Cortana-powered version would be marketed more aggressively in the west.
What is the future of this “Bond”
Regardless of the specifics, this deal has the potential to benefit both companies. Access to Microsoft’s A.I. and cloud computing technology could provide a boon for Xiaomi as it works to develop new hardware. Additionally, it might give the company greater access to western markets.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is likely hoping to leverage its partnership with Xiaomi to earn a foothold in the lucrative Chinese market. China can be difficult for foreign tech companies to break into, thanks to a combination of a highly competitive market and government policies.