KT launched an outdoor version of its artificial intelligence (AI) speaker GiGA Genie, Thursday, in a bid to diversify its AI platforms.
"In order to put AI everywhere, we have come up with GiGA Genie LTE," KT's Mass General Business Division President Lim Heon-moon said at a press conference at the firm's headquarters in Seoul. LTE stands for long-term evolution, which is a wireless broadband technology.
According to KT, the new product is the world's first LTE-based AI speaker that allows users to carry it easily on a business trip or for an outside activity. Other portable speakers are basically just Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with an AI assistant built in.
The new speaker also features an LTE mobile router that provides wireless internet access.
The tumbler-sized black LTE variant has a high-end Harman Kardon speaker ― the same as its predecessor ― and a massive 4100mAh battery that can last up to eight hours. It is the highest capacity battery among AI speakers on the market.
KT's cross-town rival SK Telecom launched a portable AI speaker ― NUGU Mini ― in August. It is 8.4 centimeters wide, 8.4 centimeters long, 6 centimeters high and weighs only 219 grams.
However, Baek Gyu-tae, senior vice president and head of the service research center at KT, said his company placed high-quality sound over size.
"Our initial design was a mini-sized speaker, but we could not give up sound quality," Baek said. "To offer a 10-watt speaker, we compromised on size."
KT mobile users who pay 65,800 won ($60) or more a month can use the new speaker with an additional payment of 11,000 won, which provides them with 1 GB of data and allows them to share smartphone data.
Those who do not subscribe to KT can use it for 16,500 won for 10GB a month and 24,200 won for 20GB.
The device's price is 264,000 won, but reduces to 59,000 won to 98,000 won thanks to subsidies in accordance with LTE data rates.
KT also has also come up with the GiGA Genie Buddy and GiGA Genie Kid's Watch that will hit markets early next year.
The former is an AI assistant that is half the size of the GiGA Genie LTE. It lets users control TVs and home internet of things if connected to a GiGA Genie. The latter can recognize voice commands and have a conversation. It also shows some features related to children's safety.
KT said the number of GiGA Genie subscribers has been nearing 400,000. It expects 500,000 at the end of the year.
The voice-recognizing AI home assistant platform debuted in late January.
"GiGA Genie represents KT's pursuit of innovative technology for people," Lim said. "Offering follow-up AI services like GiGA Genie LTE, we plan to make AI part of our lives."