I had a look at voice translator devices several years ago, and most would go for $200 or more, so when I was informed about ONE Mini pocket multilingual assistant selling for $59 US it caught my attention.
The device supports 12 languages using machine translation for live interpretation of short sentences, speech to text transcription, and a professional interpretation service connecting you to human interpreters for more complex conversations is also offered.
- WiSoC – Airoha 1526P Bluetooth Audio chip
- Connectivity – Bluetooth 5.0 dual mode with A2DP 1.3, HFP 1.7, HSP 1.2
- Audio – Dual microphone MEMS 59 dB with noise reduction; speaker; headphone jack; AAC decoding
- USB – 1x USB type-C port for charging
- Misc – Breathing light, functional light, buttons for power, volume, translation key A & B, and record/interpreter button
- Battery – 250 mAh battery good for about 10 hours of recording/calling, 4 hours of translation; charging time: about 1 hour
- Dimensions – 102 x 21.6 x 8.6mm (aluminum allow, zinc allow enclosure)
- Weight – 50 grams
So basically hardware-wise what we have here is a Bluetooth headset with some extra buttons, and a built-in speaker which explains why it can also be used as a portable music player. It also explains why they can make it so cheap, because it’s not a standalone device, and requires connection to a smartphone.
The company provides One Mini app for Android and iOS that’s used as a bridge between One Mini devices and the machine translation and human interpretation services. Once pairing is done, you can keep your phone in your pocket while using the device for live AI and human interpretation. Note that an Internet connection is required at all times, since offline support is not implemented. AI translation is free, but if you ever need human interpretation, it will costs $2 per minute with 24/7 availability.
Supported languages include Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Arabic, and Italian. The main advantages I see compared to using a free app is that you don’t need to take your phone for live interpretation, it may save a bit of battery life in your phone, and the paid interpretation services offered.
One Mini pocket multilingual assistant launched on Kickstarter a few days ago, and the $38,888 SGD ($28,744 US) funding target has already been surpassed thanks to close to 700 backers so far. Note that everything is expressed in Singapore Dollars in the crowdfunding page, but I’ll use USD equivalent. A $59 pledge should get you one ONE Mini device sometimes in July 2019 if everything goes according to plans. They have other rewards with bundles, and prices already include worldwide shipping.If you watch the demo videos, you may find the speaker sounds pretty bad, but it may improve with the final product, as those “are the demos of ONE Mini working samples, the breathing light and speaker are under hardware optimization for a better experience”.
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