China's LingLong launches DingDong smart home speaker

Screenshot of Beijing Linglong's website about the Dingdong device Image copyright Beijing Linglong

A Chinese firm has unveiled the country's first voice-activated smart home speaker - its answer to Amazon's Echo and Google's Home.

The DingDong, by technology company Beijing LingLong, uses voice interaction to do tasks such as playing music and switching on home appliances.

The device is said to understand Mandarin, Cantonese and basic English.

A study by Juniper Research suggests China's smart home market could be worth $22.8bn (£18.3bn) by 2018.

Educational tool

Beijing LingLong is owned by Chinese online retailer - which is selling the DingDong for 698 yuan ($100, £81).

The device can communicate with 95% of the China's population, Beijing Linglong told Wired.

Image copyright Beijing Linglong
Image caption The DingDong also offers English lessons for children

Like Echo and Home, it can be used to control light switches, thermostats and home appliances.

And, similar to its rivals, there is internet search, traffic and weather information, directions, online shopping, and music streaming.

The makers of DingDong have also been promoting its educational tools, including being programmed with simple English lessons for children developed by a private education company.

But outside of China the Linglong DingDong has garnered more social media attention for its name than for its technological innovation, with many expressing incredulity.

"Millions of Americans tried their damnedest not to be racist for a day and then this story drops," said Twitter user Steve Woodbury.

Image copyright Twitter/ E.Chenze
Image copyright Twitter / Steve Woodbury

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