Samsung Smart Speaker Slated for Fall

Last summer Samsung teased its long-anticipated entry into the bustling smart speaker arena with a peek at the retro-futuristic Galaxy Home. Almost 10 months later, the speaker has yet to materialize but today Samsung CEO Hyun-suk Kim told The Korean Herald that it will launch in the “mid-second half of the year,” which suggests a September/October timeframe.

No new details were provided but Kim said the speaker will help Samsung complete its IoT [Internet of Things] initiative. “Currently, Samsung’s smart home app SmartThings (enables) a connected home, which can operate Bixby-powered devices separately,” he was quoted as saying. “But what we are ultimately trying to do is to integrate all of the connected devices with the speaker and provide software solutions that help improve consumers’ experiences — for example, an energy-saving solution by controlling all of the connected devices at once.”

We know from last year’s preview and a “coming soon” web page on that the speaker is built around Bixby — Samsung’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri — and designed to serve as a smart-home hub that responds to voice commands for playing music, getting recommendations from Bixby, switching music between the speaker and a smartphone or television, and controlling a host of smart devices, including lights, door locks, and appliances.

At the Samsung Developer Conference in November Eui-Suk Chung, head of software and artificial intelligence, put a fine point on the importance of Bixby to the company’s IoT strategy. “We believe [Bixby] is much more than a simple voice assistant and that is why we are deeply committed to AI, working continuously to advance our AI vision and technology.”

The speaker uses an array of eight microphones to ensure voice commands can be heard from around a room and at a distance.

The Galaxy Home product page further explains that Austria-based audio specialist AKG designed the speaker to deliver omnidirectional sound and describes it as “the only AI speaker that intuitively moves a wave of sound directly toward you when you ask it to. So no matter where you are in the room, you’ll find yourself immersed in sound.”

Pricing has not been announced but some analysts have speculated that the speaker will sell for around $300, putting it at the higher end of the market.

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