The smart home industry has been on tenterhooks for the past few weeks as we wait for a highly anticipated Samsung launch — the Bixby Smart Speaker.
Why all the rumors? Well, the Wall Street Journal last month claimed to have seen a patent for a smart speaker prototype from Samsung, that will be powered by the Bixby digital assistant. Earlier this year, the company confirmed that they were working to develop a product within the smart speaker field and that they were aiming for a release in the second half of 2018.
The Verge expect that Samsung will formally launch the product on August 9th, during their ‘Unpacked’ event that’s ostensibly for the Galaxy Note 9 smartphone.
DJ Koh, head of mobile at Samsung, recently seemed to confirm the imminent launch, telling CNBC, “Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it.
“As I mentioned, I wanted to provide a fruitful user experience at home with Samsung devices, and I want to be moving quite heavily on it.”
The rumored price of $300 suggests that the company is currently focusing on the premium end of the industry.
However, unlike Amazon Echo and Google Home, the Bixby speaker is expected to be marketed as a quality speaker first and voice assistant second — much like Sonos have done with their smart speakers.
We’ll certainly be intrigued to see if there has been any development with Bixby itself. As a voice assistant, it has never shone before as equal to Alexa, Google or Apple’s offerings, but hopefully it will be more robust now it has its own dedicated speaker.
So, who’s likely to invest in a Samsung smart speaker?
Well, first and foremost, we think that those who have already invested in the SmartThings ecosystem will be first in line to try out a fully integrable speaker.
If the quality of the speaker itself is good enough, audio geeks from all over the tech spectrum are likely to want to give it a try as well — after all, this is an area that Amazon Echo and Google Home simply can’t compete with. They’re voice assistants first, and speakers second.
A few rumors as to the Samsung speaker’s features include facial recognition and support for media casting, according to Techradar.
The Independent claims that the speaker has been named ‘Lux’ — at least internally — and that it will feature sound shifting, where the direction of audio is automatically adjusted according to the direction of the person listening.
But, truthfully, we’re all pretty much in the dark here — Samsung have certainly managed to keep a tight lid on leaks. We can’t wait to see it in the flesh.
Are you excited for the Samsung smart speaker?