Three months after CEO Takeshi Idezawa called AI the “most important project at Line,” the messaging app maker rolled out its smart speaker featuring an AI assistant named Clova.
Actually, Line showed off three speakers yesterday at its annual conference in Tokyo. The most fun of the trio, Line Champ, is super cute and comes in the shape of either Brown the bear or Sally the chick.
Line calls the set of cartoony smart speakers – which launch sometime in winter – “more casual and more portable” than its other two variants.
Next up is the Line Wave, which looks more like Amazon’s Echo or Apple’s HomePod.
Due in the fall, the US$135 Line Wave is supposed to be Line’s top smart speaker, designed with music in mind – especially the firm’s own Line Music service.
There are even fewer details available on the Line Face, which is “still in development,” according to the company.
At least we can see it comes with a small screen, perhaps making it better suited to people who want more notifications and fewer awkward AI chats.
Line has had a rough year, losing active users on its messaging app for two consecutive quarters and seeing one billion bucks wiped off its IPO debut valuation. With AI and smart gadgets, Line is looking for life beyond social media.
See: Bots aren’t just here to chat. They might kill the app.
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