Chinese technology firm Baidu has announced a new milestone for its DuerOS voice assistant – the company’s equivalent of Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

DuerOS now has 400 million users, which suggests that its user-base has doubled since January this year, when DuerOS was being used on 200m devices. (We say ‘suggests’ because the milestone was reported as ‘devices’ in January and ‘users’ now.)

The announcement came as Baidu unveiled three new smart speakers in its ‘Xiaodu’ range. Those speakers are already doing well: according to research firm Canalys, Baidu ranked third in the world for smart-speaker shipments in the first quarter of 2019, with its 3.3m shipments close behind Google’s 3.5m, and not that far off Amazon’s 4.6m.

Baidu says that its speakers now have more than 2,000 ‘skills’ (as with Amazon/Alexa, the voice equivalent of apps) but it’s upping its efforts to enlist developer support for DuerOS to boost that figure.

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