Samsung building Bixby-powered smart speaker to take on Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod: Report

Samsung is apparently working on a smart speaker similar to Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo and Google Home. The smart speaker will be powered by its new Bixby voice assistant, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The Journal says Samsung is yet to decide the speaker's specifications and features, or a tentative release date.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 4, 2017 5:02 pm
Samsung smart speaker, Samsung Bixby smart speaker, Bixby smart speaker, Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo Samsung is reportedly working on a smart speaker similar to Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Samsung is apparently working on a smart speaker similar to Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo and Google Home. The smart speaker will be powered by its new Bixby voice assistant, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The smart speaker, currently codenamed Vega, is still in its early stages of the development. The Journal says Samsung is yet to decide the speaker’s specifications and features, or a tentative release date.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, the development of the speaker has been slowed down due to Bixby rollout. Samsung had launched the Galaxy S8 and S8+ without the rollout of its voice-controlled Assistant Bixby, a prominent feature it initially highlighted at the time of launch. The rollout has been suspended because it’s struggle to understand English. Last month, Samsung offered a select Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners in the US to an early access to Bixby’s voice features.

The report claims that the full rollout of Bixby to Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners is “unlikely before the second half of July”, a clear indication that the Vega speaker is not coming to the market anytime soon.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumours of Samsung working on a smart speaker.  Last month, The Korea Herald also reported that Samsung could be planning a smart speaker that will be powered by the company’s voice-controlled Bixby assistant. At the same time, a patent filed by Samsung for an “audio” device was unearthed. The patent suggested a smart speaker with a screen mounted on a tripod.

Samsung developing an AI-powered smart speaker should not surprise many. The market for voice-controlled speaker is booming right now, especially after the entry of Apple. The company’s HomePod is its entirely new product after the launch of Apple Watch. The Siri-powered speaker is priced at $349 ( or approx Rs. 22,462).

In the nascent smart speaker market, Amazon is currently the leader in this segment. The e-commerce giant has a complete Echo range to offer, which starts at $49 (or approx Rs. 3172) and goes up to $229 (or approx Rs 14,825) for the top-end model. The search engine company Google is also trying to establish its feet into the growing market for connected speakers. Google Home, which is powered by the Assistant, cost $129 ( or approx Rs 8351). Reports suggest China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba is also planning to launch its own smart speaker, like the Amazon Echo.

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