Alibaba recently launched the Tianmao Jingling X1 or the Tmall Genie X1 on Wednesday. This marks the entry of the e-commerce giant from China into the smart home speaker wars.
The Tianmao Jingling X1 is primed to challenge current smart home speakers in the market right now such as the Google Home, Microsoft Cortana speaker, and recently released Apple HomePod. The smart speaker from Alibaba, however, is more of a direct competitor of the Amazon Echo. The Tmall Genie X1 looks a bit similar to the Echo with its cylindrical shape and a light ring that faces downward and lights up the base when triggered.
The Tmall Genie X1 also comes with a voice assistant called AliGenie but there's a catch. The Verge noted that AliGenie only speaks in Mandarin. This means only people who speak and understand the language can take advantage of the Tmall genie X1 smart speaker. It may also prove useful for those who want to learn a new language particularly Mandarin.
Alibaba is not the only Chinese company who's trying to penetrate the digital assistant market. CNBC reported that Baidu and JD.com have also released their own smart home speakers. Baidu, China's equivalent to Google which happens to be country's biggest search engine, has the Xiaoyu Zaijia smart speaker. JD.com, another huge e-commerce site in China, has its own LingLong DingDong.
Alibaba's Tmall Genie is available in limited beta and can be pre-ordered just by signing up on a particular website and waiting for further instructions which should be expected by the middle of July. Those who will be lucky enough to be selected will then be asked to complete the transaction. The Tianmao Jingling X1 can be had for¥499 or around $74. Once the purchase is complete, the buyers have to wait until July 17 during which the Alibaba smart home speakers aka the Tmall Genie X1 will be shipped.