Samsung plans Bixby smart speaker to rival Amazon Echo and Google Home

The 'Lux' smart speaker will feature high-end speakers and a feature called sound shifting

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 19 July 2018 13:02 BST
Samsung's Bixby digital assistant could have e new home to compete against Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant
Samsung's Bixby digital assistant could have e new home to compete against Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant

Samsung is set to become the latest technology giant to vie for a place in your living room with a voice-enabled smart speaker, following similar efforts from Amazon, Apple and Google.

The smart speaker is anticipated to cost around $300, making it considerably more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, but still cheaper than Apple's $349 HomePod.

To justify this price, it will market the speaker as a high-end music player with innovative features like sound shifting, whereby the direction of the audio will be beamed at the person speaking to the device.

Details of Samsung's smart speaker, revealed in a report in the Wall Street Journal, also suggest the device will be bowl-shaped with a legged bottom.

A succession of smart televisions and smart refrigerators has seen Samsung pave the way for many smart home devices but the South Korean tech giant has fallen way behind in one key category: the smart speaker.

Recent projections from analyst firm Canalys forecast smart speaker penetration to hit 100 million homes in 2018, with Google and Amazon taking up two thirds of the market share. Apple's high-end HomePod is anticipated to only control 4 per cent of the market.

Samsung first revealed that it was developing a smart speaker last year at its Galaxy Note 8 event, however no official word has been given on when to expect it.

The president of Samsung's mobile division, DJ Koh, told CNBC in August: "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."

A launch date for the Bixby smart speaker – code-named "Lux" – could be less than one month away, with a Galaxy Note 9 event on 9 August a likely time to unveil the device.

Is this the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? It looks almost identical to the Galaxy Note 8 but should feature much-improved specs

Rumours about Samsung's next premium handset have been spreading online in the build up to its launch, with several leaked images appearing to show the Galaxy Note 9 from various angles.

The images appear to show a device that is almost identical in appearance to the Galaxy Note 8, confirming speculation from analysts that the biggest updates will be with the smartphone's internal specs.

Various rumours suggest the Note 9 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM and an improved camera and battery capacity.

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