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Softbank readies pint-size smart speaker

Collaboration with robot startup set to debut this year

Softbank will enhance the Plen Cube smart speaker's language capabilities.

TOKYO -- SoftBank is teaming up with an Osaka-based robotics startup to offer a portable smart speaker within the year.

The SoftBank Group unit will provide natural language processing and voice synthesis technologies for Plen Cube, a compact personal assistant device developed by Plengoer Robotics. The Wi-Fi-enabled Plen Cube, which runs on an internal battery, includes a facial recognition feature and responds to voice commands from the user. It can be instructed to show a smartphone video on a compatible TV, for example.

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