Gadgets for humans

Samsung confirms its Bixby-powered smart speaker is on the way

HomePod Black

Following the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 yesterday, the company’s mobile chief, DJ Koh, confirmed that a Bixby-powered smart speaker will be launched soon.

Koh told 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.”

That confirms The Wall Street Journal’s scoop from July about the upcoming device – and rubbishes The Korea Herald’s subsequent report about the project being shelved.

A Samsung speaker makes a lot of sense now that the company’s Bixby assistant is available in over 200 countries: that means it’ll be available to a wide audience from which Samsung can gather usage data and continually improve its service.

When it launches, Samsung’s speaker will face competition from Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo lineup, Google Home (which can now handle voice calls and help you shop for Walmart stuff), Microsoft’s Cortana-based Invoke, and Apple’s HomePod (which arrives this December).

In Asia, it’ll have to go up against South Korean rivals like SK Telecom, KT, Naver, and Kakao, as well as Xiaomi, which launched a $45 speaker that’s presently in testing with customers in China, but could become available more widely in the continent.

It’ll be interesting to see if Samsung decides to make its speaker brand-agnostic when it comes to connecting to phones and other devices around the home, or if it’s locked into the company’s ecosystem and requires other Samsung gear to work.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published August 24, 2017 — 06:47 UTC

Pssst, hey you!

Do you want to get the sassiest daily tech newsletter every day, in your inbox, for FREE? Of course you do: sign up for Big Spam here.