Samsung to Release Bixby-Powered Smart Speaker in First Half of 2018: REPORT

We first heard reports of a Bixby-powered smart speaker earlier this year; Samsung is reportedly prepping the smart speaker – which previous leaks said was codenamed “Vega” – for launch inside the first half of 2018.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the speaker will have a strong focus on audio quality and will also connect home appliances like lights and locks. The speaker will run on company’s in-house Bixby voice assistant to rival the likes of Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Further, the speaker will synchronise with Samsung TVs, smartphones and other devices as well.

Samsung talked about its intention to launch a smart home speaker earlier this year in August. At the time, the president of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh, shared few details about the speaker, stating that the device would arrive “soon.” Then, in September, BK Yoon, co-CEO and head of Samsung’s consumer electronics business, mentioned that the company is working with audio component giant Harman to make the speaker.

The smart speaker will not feature a display, though the lights at the top of the device will indicate some level of visual feedback. Samsung reportedly plans to sell the device, which sits somewhere between Amazon’s 2nd-generation Echo and Apple’s upcoming HomePod, in multiple colors, including matte black.

Although pricing and availability are still in flux, Samsung is said to be targeting somewhere around $200 for the price point of the smart speaker. That would place it in between (though closer to the cheap side) of the $100 USD Amazon Echo and the $349 HomePod that Apple plans to bring to market early next year.

Bloomberg says Samsung hopes to introduce the speaker to a number of markets, including the United States and Canada. While there currently isn’t a precise timeframe for when it’ll hit the market, check back with IIC for updates.