The Raven H is the first product in Baidu’s upcoming AI plan. They also plan to put a driverless bus on Chinese roads next year, and cars by 2021.

The Raven H
© Baidu

At first glance, the new speaker doesn’t look anything like the competition. It also looks like the speaker can be tilted toward the user. If you are wondering why it looks like it was designed in Scandinavia, there is a reason for that: it was designed by Swedish consumer electronics company, Teenage Engineering. The audio hardware is made by Danish company Tymphany.

How’s Your Chinese, Raven H?

Being one of China’s biggest dotcoms, Baidu may have tough competition in the west, but it has a hungry and willing home market – a home market in which Google is blocked. Additionally, Baidu’s gadgets will speak better Chinese.

According to Mashable, the Raven H will also be able to tap into Baidu’s vast online resources to play music, tell you the weather or read the news. Being a domestic service, it will plug into other Chinese services like Didi Chuxing – China’s Uber – to get you a ride simply by asking for one.

More On The Way

The Raven R© Baidu

The follow up to the smart speaker’s launch will be a robot based on the same AI platform. The Raven R will have 6 moveable joints allowing the expression of emotions and move to respond to the users’ commands.

Following that up, Baidu plans a home robot that will be able to see and hear you. Called the Raven Q, it is purported to perform some home security functions whilst interacting with a natural voice. This however is still in the concept phase.

Chinese companies are clearly able to refine products that are already on the market whilst maintaining an original slant.