Biz / Tech

Baidu launches smart earphones with Chinese-English translation

Ding Yining
Company says its wireless XiaoduPods come with real-time Chinese-English translation and voice-controlled search, navigation, call and music functions.
Ding Yining
Baidu launches smart earphones with Chinese-English translation
Ti Gong

Earlier this month, Baidu rolled out its self-driving taxi service "Apollo Go" in Beijing, with 40 autonomous cabs in a trial operation.

Baidu unveiled its new smart wireless earphones equipped with voice assistant DuerOS as the latest foray into the smart device market following successful smart speaker product launches in previous years.  

The “XiaoduPods," with real-time Chinese-English translation cost 199 yuan during a promotional period and come with voice-controlled search, navigation, call and music functions.

At the Baidu World 2020 Conference on Wednesday, CEO Robin Li said he expects large scale commercial application of autonomous driving within five years and that AI could improve transport efficiency by 15 to 30 percent. 

Baidu's autonomous driving solution Apollo will team up with new-energy vehicle maker WM Motor to offer autonomous valet parking technology in a new WM model next year.  

Earlier this month, Baidu rolled out its self-driving taxi service "Apollo Go" in Beijing, with 40 autonomous cabs in a trial operation after similar trials in Changsha in Hunan Province and Cangzhou in Hebei Province.  

Jing Kun, vice president and general manager of Baidu Smart Living Group, said the DuerOS smart assistant would team up with more partners from different industries to offer features to target users' specific needs. 

Major applications include education and entertainment services for children and fitness services for the aging population, and Baidu is hoping the XiaoduPods will extend the application scenarios of the smart voice assistant beyond home use.

"In-house voice interaction offers opportunities for user education, especially during the pandemic," Jing said, adding that many hoteliers were more willing to adopt smart services for operation efficiency and quarantine measures. 

Last year, smart speaker shipments more than doubled from a year ago and reached 45.9 million units in China, according to research firm IDC. Products manufactured by Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi accounted for more than 90 percent of total sales. 

IDC expects shipments to grow 9.8 percent this year after the pandemic halted marketing and promotional activities but could boost voice assistant use as people stayed indoors longer. 

DuerOS's current partners include content and services providers such as short-video giants Douyin and Kuaishou, video platform Bilibili, and fitness app Keep. It's working with some 40,000 developers to allow content providers to tailor their services for smart devices.

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