Baidu, an internet company providing search engine service, said its DuerOS AI voice assistant has doubled device availability to 100 million units within six months.
Baidu said some 200 device partners have signed up to bring its voice assistant to their products, from speakers, washing machines to refrigerators and smart TVs. The voice assistant is now available in 110 smart devices, said the Chinese company.
DuerOS is a voice assistant platform, which offers a suite of software developer kits (SDKs), APIs and solutions that enables third-party device makers to quickly integrate Baidu’s voice platform into their products.
Baidu also makes its own smart speakers. In June, it introduced a smart speaker called Xiaodu, which was sold out in all 10,000 units in 90 seconds, Baidu claimed. The company will make another speaker, called Xiaoyu and put it inside InterContinental Hotel’s suites.
Smart speakers powered by DuerOS have been sold in hundreds of thousands of units to date, said the company. The platform has 16,000 voice skill developers actively contributing.
The company is also working with Huawei, Vivo and OPPO to integrate DuerOS into their flagship smartphone models. It has also talked with BMW, Daimler AG, Ford, Hyundai and Kia for possible integration.
Baidu’s strategy is simple – bringing the assistant everywhere. “We are seeing voice input gaining huge adoption in China. By leveraging Baidu’s AI technology, which has the largest indexing of Chinese web pages and a better multi-model semantic understanding of the Chinese language, DuerOS is uniquely positioned for the shift to conversational AI in China,” said Kun Jing, general manager of the Smart Living Group at Baidu, in a statement.
While the smart speaker battle intensifies between Amazon and Google around the world, something similar occurs between Baidu and Alibaba in China.
In China, Alibaba was the first company to introduce smart speaker devices. It began the venture with an e-commerce point-of-view and is now leading the local market. As the third largest smart speaker maker in the world, it has shipped 800,000 units, owing 7% of the market share from April to June this year, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Although Baidu came to the market a little late, it has enjoyed rapid market growth, which may further boost the Chinese smart speaker market.