With the US currently leading the smart speaker scene with Amazon Echo and Google Home, it was only a matter of time before China got involved too. Its answer to this burgeoning market is the LingLong DingDong, and yes, you read right.
While the absurdity of its name might arouse suspicion that this is some sort of hoax, the LingLong DingDong is in fact a genuine product. Created by Beijing-based firm LingLong Co. and costing just shy of 800 yuan ($116, £94), the DingDong is a speaker-bound virtual assistant capable of playing music, taking memos and providing news, traffic and weather information.
Chiefly, however, the DingDong appears to be an intelligent music player. The device claims to offer "cinema-like sound quality" thanks to its "peerless high-quality speaker" and has access to a million-strong music library provided through Chinese web service Baidu.
Songs are available in high-quality 320Kbps format, making the LingLong DingDong quite the jukebox, and can be played using the command "DingDong, play a song".
In terms of design, the DingDong shares a similar aesthetic to the £150 Amazon Echo, while still being unique enough not to be considered a clone. The speaker is made from metal and measures 242mm tall and 114mm wide at the base. Tipping the scales at 1.5kg, the DingDong is slightly larger and a little heavier than Amazon's smart speaker and is available in black, white, red and purple.
According to Wired, the DingDong is available in both Mandarin and Cantonese versions, meaning it's able to understand roughly 95 percent of China's population. The device isn't available outside of China, although that should come as no surprise: with Amazon Echo and Google Home both promising to do what DingDong does, albeit at a slightly higher price, the West already has two formidable players battling it out in the smart speaker space. It's now down to the DingDong to kick-start similar interest in China.