Google to release first AI speaker in South Korean market next week

By Park Sae-jin Posted : September 4, 2018, 17:51 Updated : September 4, 2018, 17:51

[Courtesy of Google]

SEOUL -- American tech company Google will venture into South Korea's rapidly growing artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant speaker market, which has been dominated by local tech firms.

Google Korea said Tuesday that it would introduce a new hardware at a press event on September 11. Yonhap News reported that the new hardware would be Google Home, an AI speaker which was released globally in 2016 but left out South Korea.

Google had focused on the development of an AI voice assistant feature for mobile and speaker platforms. Currently, many smartphones which use Google's Android operating system provide AI voice assistant services, allowing users to control connected internet of things (IoT) devices or smart devices by giving voice orders.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are popular in the world with 2.5 million units and 3.2 million units sold respectively during the first quarter of this year, according to the global technology market analysis firm, Canalys.

In South Korea, some three million AI speakers are expected to be placed at households by the end of this year, compared to one million in early 2017, according to Nasmedia, a mobile marketing agency.

While Naver and Kakao, the country's top web service firms, try to attract consumers with character-themed AI speakers, domestic mobile carriers include self-developed speakers in their mobile or internet data plans. 

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