Deutsche Telekom, the parent-company of T-Mobile, has just announced a new smart speaker at IFA 2018 in Berlin. This smart speaker has Amazon Alexa on-board, but it also has a few other neat tricks up its sleeve. Customers will be able to use voice commands to control some of Deutsche Telekom’s services, which include EntertainTV and Magenta SmartHome to make and receive calls using this smart speaker.
Now the speaker is not yet available for purchase. Deutsche Telekom is doing something rather interesting with this one here. It is going to be using its customers to train its own intelligent voice assistant using this speaker. So the first rollout of this speaker will see 1,000 customers using this speaker. Those that do apply to become testers, and get a successful application, will get Deutsche Telekom’s new Smart Speaker for free. This smart speaker will retail for €149 when it does become available. Michael Hagspihil, head of consumers at Deutsche Telekom stated that “the Smart Speaker is not just the first such assistant to come from Germany in a market dominated by US suppliers. We’re aiming for much more than that – we want to work with strong European partners to establish a comprehensive voice platform.”
It’s a bit interesting that Deutsche Telekom didn’t just stick Alexa into this speaker and call it a day. Instead, it is going to be working on its own personal assistant that will live inside this smart speaker. This could be so that it works better with Deutsche Telekom’s existing services. It also would not be surprising to see T-Mobile launch this in the US, especially as it is ramping up its own TV service in the coming months. It would definitely be future thinking of T-Mobile to launch the TV service with its smart speaker and assistant that can control the entire thing.