Looks like Google isn’t the only company that’s been inspired by the success of Amazon’s Echo loudspeaker. Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com also took some cues from the Echo in developing DingDong, its very own smart loudspeaker.
DingDong, which was first announced in China a year ago and has been available for sale there for a few months now, looks a bit bigger than the Echo, but works very much the same way: Consumers activate the device’s microphones with a hot word, which in this case happens to be “ding dong.”
After that, the speaker can be instructed to read the news, play music and even connect to one’s calendar. The device can also be used to control smart home appliances through JD’s cloud platform. DingDong is meant to eventually tie into JD’s e-commerce website as well, but a spokesperson said at CES Asia this week that the device can’t be used to order products just yet. DingDong sells for 900 RMB, which equals about $140.
This week, news broke that Google has been developing a similar smart loudspeaker of its own. The device is internally known as “Chirp,” according to a Recode report, and the company plans to launch it later this year.
All of this happens as Amazon is seeing some unexpected success for its Echo loudspeaker, and the Alexa platform that powers it. At the end of 2014, Amazon only released Echo with a limited supply to test the response from customers. But since then, it has become a hit with consumers, leading Amazon to introduce two follow-up products this year.
Amazon has also since expanded Alexa to control and interact with numerous third-party devices and services, and even struck partnerships with media companies to use the Echo for movie promotions.