Samsung working on Bixby-supported smart speaker

Samsung is joining the likes of Amazon and Google’s play for the living room by developing a smart speaker — despite not really having voice-activated technology ready yet.

Samsung working on Bixby-supported smart speaker

Vega, the rumoured nickname of Samsung’s smart speaker project, will use Bixby, its voice-activated assistant, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Once the speaker comes to fruition, it will face off against the Amazon Echo, Google Home and the Apple HomePod, which will become available in December, taking a stab in the same market. The HomePod is meant to, of course, revolutionise voice-activated speakers and operate almost as a virtual assistant, and Apple seems to want to accomplish this by aiming for Alexa directly.

The existing speakers have an advantage over Samsung since they use established voice-activated technologies, such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. Since Bixby is reportedly unlikely to be ready before mid-July, it will most likely delay Vega’s launch.

Bixby is only currently available to beta users of the service on Samsung Galaxy S8, which has its own designated button on the phone’s side that can’t be used otherwise. It currently has problems answering questions and completing tasks that surpass simply doing something on the device, according to The Verge. It also seems particular about the type of language used for its commands, since only specific phrases work, such as “Send a text to mom and ask ‘how are you’” and not the almost identical “Text mom and ask ‘how are you.’”   

If Samsung can get this right, then it enters a marketplace which is maturing every day. Amazon has the marketshare edge with its Echo device right now, but Google Home is attracting new services all the time. You wouldn’t bet against Apple, given the company’s deep pockets. Throw in a Harman Kardon rival using Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant, and you have the beginnings of a very messy fight for the living room due to unfold over the next few years.

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