​Samsung AI speaker launching next year: Co-CEO

Samsung Electronics will launch its own artificial intelligence (AI) speaker next year, the firm's co-CEO has said, which will combine Harman's audio prowess with its own technology.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Samsung Electronics will launch its own voice-activated AI speaker next year, the firm's co-CEO has said.

BK Yoon, co-CEO and head of the consumer electronics business, said the division is working to combine technologies of the mobile division and audio component giant Harman to make the speaker.

The speaker will "take some time" to launch but consumers can have high expectations for it, according to the co-CEO, who was speaking at a press conference at the sidelines of the IFA tradeshow.

Samsung mobile boss DJ Koh, who is heading the project, said the company's virtual assistant Bixby will be synced with its home appliances through Samsung Connect.

In a separate conference after the unveiling of the Galaxy Note 8 last month, Koh said the firm was preparing a service in China that will sync Bixby to TVs.

Company executives confirmed to ZDNet last month that the company is preparing an AI speaker.

Samsung completed the $8 billion acquisition of Harman earlier this year, and the two are already cooperating actively. In July, Samsung launched an LED screen for cinemas that uses Harman audio systems.

It also began selling Harman's consumer brand audio products in South Korea.

The AI speaker business is heating up in South Korea. SK Telecom has launched a portable version of its AI speaker NUGU Mini last month. Kakao, the country's chat giant, is also preparing its own, called Kakao Mini.

Rival Apple revealed its Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker in June, which will be released this December.

According to research from consulting firm Ovum, virtual digital assistants will overtake the world's population by 2021.

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