Google has Google Home and Amazon has Amazon Echo. Samsung doesn’t want to be left out of the crowd, right? Back in the summertime, we got word that Samsung was considering the launch of a smart speaker of its own, powered by Bixby, the company’s own artificial intelligent (AI) assistant. The report was later shelved, but a trusted source now claims the opposite.
Samsung might be reconsidering a standalone Bixby-powered smart speaker. According to Bloomberg, the Bixby speaker could hit shelves in 2018 with a price tag of around $200. This would put it mid-pack, between Google and Amazon’s $30 offerings (Home Mini and Echo Dot), and larger, more expensive offerings (Home Max and Echo, or Echo Show). Because there are few speakers at this price point could be why Samsung is attracted to it. Either way, it won’t be an easy niche to carve into, especially considering both Google and Amazon have already come out with second or third-year products.
Bloomberg claims the speaker will have an emphasis on audio, but be fully capable of carrying out smart related functions such as controlling appliances and smart products, providing timely information, and streaming to select Samsung Smart TVs.
We’re still not impressed by the Bixby voice assistant, though, when it comes, if it ever does, Bixby 2.0 could change our minds. After some delay getting Bixby in people’s hands, the technology still doesn’t seem quite ready for the prime time, and lacks in comparison to Google and Amazon’s offerings, in some key areas. Samsung says it’s taking the sector seriously, but time is slipping by and we haven’t seen much improvement. It’s getting to be too little too late by the Korean tech giant.
Perhaps the reason Samsung has been holding back is for good reason, to get things fully functioning and out of concept-like form to justify the reported $200 price point. Maybe Bixby 2.0 will launch with the arrival of this speaker. Perhaps we’ll learn something at CES in January or MWC in February, two places that have become home for announcing smart home products.
It seems they’ve decided to pursue the speaker project, but give us the hardware already, Samsung.