Samsung confirmed this week that it is working on its own smart speaker, presumably in an effort to compete with the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple.
The company’s mobile division president, DJ Koh, told CNBC that a Samsung-branded smart speaker was on the way. “Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it,” Koh told the news outlet ahead of the Galaxy Note 8 launch on Wednesday. “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,” he added.
Word of a proprietary Samsung smart speaker first spread in July via the Wall Street Journal. That report suggested that the speaker would be built around Samsung’s Bixby virtual assistant, and has been in development for more than a year. Notably, Bixby seems to be the main bottleneck in the smart speaker’s development.
Indeed, the Korean tech giant has run into problems with a widespread rollout of the Bixby virtual assistant in English-language countries. While Bixby has been available in certain regions for some time, the U.S. version of the digital assistant has only just launched on Galaxy S8 devices last month.
Koh declined to give any further details about Samsung’s smart home speaker, or elaborate on a potential launch date beyond “soon.” But it’s clear that the proprietary device would be part of a larger effort in the smart home space. From Samsung-branded TVs to refrigerators, the company hopes to have Bixby capable of controlling everything in a smart home.
When Samsung’s speaker does launch, it’ll be born into a young but already crowded smart home market. Amazon has its popular and market-dominating Echo lineup, Google has Home, and Apple this year unveiled HomePod — a high-end smart home speaker focused on music playback.