A and an weren’t the only high points of Baidu’s Create conference in Beijing this week. The company took the wraps off of DuerOS 5.0, its latest-gen natural language platform, and it revealed that DuerOS’ install base recently surpassed 400 million as voice queries topped 3.6 billion. The former metric is up substantially from and last November and August, respectively, when DuerOS reached the 800-million-queries mark.

For the uninitiated, DuerOS is a suite of software developer kits (SDKs), APIs, and turnkey solutions that enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to integrate the platform with smart speakers, refrigerators, washing machines, set-top boxes, and more.

Perhaps the headliner of DuerOS 5.0 is its full-duplex mode, which allows it to respond without the need for a wake word. (It’s

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