Shortly after being on stage at MWC 2018 in Barcelona during Unpacked 2018 to announce the latest Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones, Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh confirmed a Bixby-powered smart speaker. The device that has been rumored for some time hasn’t made way to MWC 2018 for any kind of official introduction, but is being worked on back at Samsung Labs.
We’ve been trying to figure out whether Samsung will actually release a Bixby speaker for some time, and now it appears likely. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung will launch a Bixby-powered smart speaker to compete with the likes of Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, in the “second half of 2018.” The device will have a focus on ‘premium,’ so in other words, it might directly target Google Home Max or Apple’s HomePod in terms of speaker quality.
When the idea of a Bixby speaker first arose, rumors were quickly shot down. Since then, Bixby has received little treatment and competitors have come out with next-gen versions. When compared to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, Bixby’s core experience is still in need of work– a lot of work. Samsung’s digital AI assistant has some cool functions, but lacks substantially in comparison to Google and Amazon’s offerings in the most important areas, dependence, usability, and everyday tasks. A 2.0 update is said to be in the works to improve Bixby in these areas, and Samsung says it’ll be available later this year for Bixby users on the cell phone. Perhaps the timeline of Bixby 2.0 will intersect with the arrival of a Bixby speaker later this year. We’re thinking IFA 2018 or the Galaxy Note 9 Unpacked event as most likely.
The longer wait time could be a good thing. We don’t want Samsung to rush into creating something that’s not yet ready with an assistant that’s unfinished. Especially, if the speaker is to be a high-end offering with a premium price tag. However, later this year, Amazon could very well have third-generation models and Google, second-generation models. Time keeps passing and the market is getting more and more saturated, especially now with Google Smart Displays on the horizon. Samsung will have to do something special and soon if smart home users are to make the switch over to Samsung’s Galaxy ecosystem. It’s just getting to be too late for an entry-level model at this point and considering Samsung is usually among the first to do things, this is surprising and will surely have an affect market-side.
What do you think?
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SOURCE [Wall Street Journal]