Samsung is reportedly planning an entry into the nascent smart home speaker category, working on a speaker powered by their smart assistant Bixby.
In a report from the Wall Street Journal, the usual ‘people familiar with the matter’ have described the project, codenamed ‘vega’ which has been in development for a year:
Samsung is developing a voice-activated speaker powered by its digital assistant Bixby, according to people familiar with the matter, joining a proliferating arms race in tabletop devices.
The timing is far from determined, the people said. The English-language version of Bixby has been delayed and they said many of the speaker’s features and other specifications are yet to be decided. But the project—internally code-named “Vega”—has been going on for more than a year, several of the people said.
The speaker would compete with products from Google with Home, Amazon and their Alexa enabled line of Echo speakers, as well as Microsoft’s Cortana powered speaker and Apple’s new Homepod speaker, both of which will launch later this year.
The Bixby powered speaker may not be ready to launch outside of Samsungs home market of Korea for some time thought, with a report in launched a Bixby trial for owners of the Galaxy S8 in the US, but it’s in its early days and despite the beta being now closed to new users, it’s unclear if they’re getting enough data. According to Samsung there has been mixed responses to the Beta from US consumers with ‘some unsatisfactory results in terms of responding to requests and questions’.
The launch of Bixby seems to be a train wreck in motion for those of us in English speaking markets, especially those with a Galaxy S8. A speaker powered by an as yet, non-english speaking assistant isn’t launching any sparks of eager anticipation here. Chris said it best when he said Sorry Samsung, but a dedicated Bixby button is just a really shit idea.