The Amazon Echo is a nifty gadget that can do a host of useful things with the help of its built-in AI called Alexa. Launched in 2014, the voice-activated, hands-free speaker can play music, provide the news, and order stuff online, among others. With the product’s practical benefit and market success, it was no surprise that a Chinese company has found a way to create their own version of the Echo.
Technology company Beijing LingLong has unveiled its own smart home speaker called the DingDong. Sporting a similar look but with a much more memorable name, the LingLong Dingdong also uses voice interaction to do Echo-similar tasks.
One feature it does have over the Amazon gadget is that the DingDong understands Mandarin and Cantonese. According to Wired, the device can understand 95% of China’s population despite the variety of accent used across the country. A user can also communicate to it using basic English. Beijing LingLong, which is owned by Chinese online retailer JD.com, sells the DingDong for 698 Yuan ($100).
While the DingDong can do pretty much almost anything the Echo does, it does have a few limitations. Unlike the Echo and the similar Google Home, the Lingdong Dingdong can only do one response per question or command. It can also provide stock quotes for companies listed in China, making it unable to provide a quote for its own parent company JD.com which is listed on the NASDAQ.
Those slight hiccups may soon be addressed though as the company has promised to upgrade the product by incorporating artificial intelligence to make it smarter. LingLong has also recently made a voice service platform available to developers to broaden its currently limited features.
Currently, the DingDong can be used to control home appliances, search the internet, ask directions and be programmed with English lessons for children via a third party education company.
Outside China, the Linglong DingDong has been generating some serious attention on social media not for its technical capabilities but for its funny-sounding name.
— Gereiam (@GereGeorge) November 24, 2016
— Craig (@ckempo) November 24, 2016
— Anya Murphy (@the_anyanka) November 24, 2016
Let’s have a linlong dingdong singsong while playing pingpong against King Kong #linglongdingdong
— S. P. Allan (@AlanPeterJr) November 24, 2016
— John Savage (@troccy) November 24, 2016