Naver`s AI speaker "Wave"
South Korea’s internet portal giant Naver Corp. launched its artificial intelligence (AI)-based speaker “Wave” in Korea on Friday through a promotional event giving away the smart device to its music streaming service users purchasing one-year subscription plan at 90,000 won ($78.71).
Wave fitted with AI-based assistant platform Clova that Naver developed with its Japan-based mobile chatting app unit Line Corp. can play music and provide information such as the latest weather and traffic, and control home appliances.
It was first released in Japan last month as a light version, featuring part of the smart device’s functions like music player and alarm, on a limited offer with a price tag of 10,000 yen ($92). The entire stock was sold out in just five days.
Naver plans to sell the full-spec version at 15,000 yen in Japan by the end of September.
The company attributed Wave’s successful launch in Japan to the device’s Japanese speaking ability. There are no AI speakers made by Japanese firms yet and those of global makers like Amazon Echo and Google Home do not offer service in Japanese language.
Global AI speaker market has grown rapidly since Amazon released its AI speaker Echo in 2014. Big names like Google and Apple have rolled out their own version of AI speakers, and Korea’s leading mobile carriers SK Telecom Inc. and KT Corp. also have launched AI speakers named NUGU and Giga Genie, respectively. Kakao Corp., Korea’s leading mobile messenger operator, will join the race soon with a smart speaker named Kakao Mini.
AI plays a significant role in global competition and it is also important for the company’s future growth, said Han Seong-sook, Naver’s chief executive. The company plans to beef up its AI service by hiring more specialists and upgrading the solution, Han added.
Shares of Naver closed at 795,000 won ($695.05), up 1,000 won or 0.13 percent from the previous session.
By Oh Chan-jong
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