New Nugu model sets the mood with lighting

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New Nugu model sets the mood with lighting

People looking to set the perfect mood in their home can now turn to the latest model of Nugu, SK Telecom’s smart speaker.

On Wednesday, SK launched Nugu Candle, a version of the speaker equipped with expanded mood lighting options. SK’s Nugu speaker has had mood lighting ever since it first launched in 2016, but the Nugu Candle puts this feature at the forefront.

The company said it decided to add more mood lighting features to Nugu in response to rapidly-growing consumer demand for interior lighting devices.

According to SK Telecom, Korea’s interior lighting market is expected to grow from 7.4 trillion won ($6.5 billion) last year to 12.3 trillion won by 2020.

The Nugu Candle offers 17 different lighting colors, including four colors that are used in color therapy. Consumers can adjust the brightness of the lights using buttons or a touch pad on top of the cylindrical speaker.

It also offers a unique morning wake-up alarm feature that SK has dubbed a “sunrise morning call.” When users set a specific time that they want to wake up at, the speaker gradually lights up starting from 30 minutes before the set time, mimicking the rise of the sun, and makes bird sounds.

Nugu Candle will sell for 149,000 won, but SK said it will be offered at a discounted price of 79,000 won for an unspecified launch event period.

Lee Sang-ho, head of SK’s service platform division, set the sales target for the Nugu Candle at 200,000 units within the year, and said that sales of the first-generation Nugu will be discontinued by the end of the year during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The new features added to the Nugu Candle will be limited to lighting, though, as it will offer the same 30 services the previous speaker could handle, such as ordering food delivery, music playback and weather reporting.

According to Lee, the company is preparing to launch another new version of Nugu by the end of the year that specializes in audio quality and upgrade the AI assistant’s software so it is capable of more natural conversations with users.

On Wednesday, the carrier also released a physical button for drivers who use the T Map navigation app with Nugu’s AI assistant. Drivers often had difficulty waking Nugu using voice commands when music was playing inside the car, so the Nugu Button is intended to make it easier to access the voice assistant.

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