According to Bloomberg, Samsung is planning to launch its Bixby-powered smart speaker within the first half of 2018 to take on Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple’s upcoming HomePod. Samsung also mentioned back in August that it’s was working on its own smart speaker. Samsung’s plan is get Bixby to work with Samsung’s voice assistant, and also connect various other devices from, including its phones and TVs. Bixby will be a screenless device that’s larger than an Amazon Echo, and it is rumored to be priced at $200. Samsung’s Bixby will have Alexa-like home speaker features.
“Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it,” Koh told CNBC in an interview ahead of the Note 8 smartphone launch. Koh also went on to say, “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.”A Bixby home speaker would also put Samsung in direct competition with Amazon, Google and Apple with its HomePod. Some indutry analysts predict that smart speakers will become a $3.5 billion industry by 2021, up from $720 million in 2016. According to Bloomberg report, Bixby prototype speaker is roughly bigger than the Echo and smaller than the Apple’s HomePod. Unlike the Amazon Echo Show, Bixby prototype was also said to have no screen and comes in a matte black color.
The Bixby-powered speaker has been in the making for some time now. Last month, Samsung Electronics confirmed that it has bought Korean artificial intelligence startup Fluenty in a move to boost its AI capabilities. Fluenty’s app supports most messenger services, including Telegram, Kakao Talk, Line, WhatsApp, Facebook and short message service. According to KoreaHerald, Samsung is expected to incorporate the Fluenty’s technologies into its AI voice assistant service Bixby.