Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Pine64 sells a few different open-source hardware products, primarily built around Linux and ARM chips. The company has now revealed something different: a smart speaker designed for Home Assistant and other open smart home platforms.

Pine64 has already released devices like the PinePhone Pro and PineTab 2, and in a blog post earlier this week, the company shared plans for a new ‘PineVox’ product. It’s a home assistant smart speaker, based on the BL606P RISC-V development board, intended to function as a more customizable and open version of an Amazon Echo or Google Nest smart speaker.

The PineVox is primarily designed as a voice interface for Home Assistant, a popular self-hosted home automation platform, and other similar systems. Pine64 said in a blog post, “Features of note include the hardware microphone kill switch, and the ability to debug the unit externally. The hardware microphone killswitch allows the software to mute the microphone but unmuting has to be performed using the button on the device. Muting the microphone disables the clock connection to the microphone, giving peace of mind that it really, really isn’t listening to you.”

Importantly, this isn’t being built as a high-quality speaker for music playback, which is one of the main selling points for the Nest Audio, Amazon Echo, and other mainstream smart speakers. The company said, “Designed specifically for voice applications rather than music playback, it ensures clear and high-quality voice audio reception.” It’s not clear yet if the speaker will have external audio output, but the development board does have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so it could potentially connect to other speakers wirelessly.

There’s no timeframe for when the PineVox will be available to purchase. Pine64 is currently giving a “small number of developer seed units” to get the firmware and other base software working.

Pine64 also revealed a set of bone conduction headphones is in development, using the same BES2300 chipset used in the company’s PineBuds Pro. There’s not a finalized enclosure, or a finished licensing agreement for the software, or even an official product name, so it will probably be a while before they ship.

Source: Pine64

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By John P.

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