Cleer’s 360 Space Smart Home Speaker gives Alexa a bigger, or quieter, voice

Cleer SPACE smart speaker

We know this will come as a surprise, but believe it or not, we’ve found yet another Alexa-powered smart speaker here at CES 2018. The $250 Space Smart Home Speaker is made by audio company Cleer, and packs some interesting tech that might just help it stand apart from the tsunami of smart speakers we’ve seen so far.

Cleer has incorporated Qualcomm’s smart audio platform technology, which is essentially an all-in-one tech package for companies that want to develop smart speaker products, and Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree, which is designed to improve a product’s ability to listen for and interpret verbal keywords, like “Alexa.”

The result, at least from a consumer point of view, is an Alexa-powered smart speaker that features the visual interface of an Amazon Echo (complete with physical buttons and a racetrack LED ring), which sits atop a body that looks like a tapered Apple HomePod. Judging from Cleer’s press release, the Space should sound pretty good: It has a 7.1 speaker system that produces “immersive, 360-degree sound.” You can run multiple Space speakers and adjust their sound settings via an app.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature is something Cleer calls Follow Me voice control. It claims this lets the speaker “actively track interactions and deliver discrete audio to the user independent of the other listeners.” Cool? Creepy? Maybe a bit of both. There have certainly been plenty of times we wished Alexa could have responded to our queries sotto voce instead of loud enough for all to hear.

The Space Smart Home Speaker starts shipping in the second half of 2018.