Samsung plans to launch a smart speaker to rival Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others, in the first half of 2018, according to Bloomberg. The smart speaker will use Samsung's Bixby voice assistant utilized in the Galaxy smartphone lineup, and aims to connect smart home appliances.
It's not clear what Samsung plans to call its smart speaker, however the report said it may be priced at $200 and harp on audio quality. Samsung's focus for the speaker is to be a hub for its SmartThings ecosystem and other Samsung devices including smart refrigerators and Galaxy smartphones.
Bixby, like Apple's Siri and Amazon Alexa, allows users to access information like weather, sports scores, news, traffic info, web services, and more with their voice.
DJ Koh, president of Samsung's mobile division, confirmed in August that Samsung is working on a smart speaker, but didn't provide many details other than it's set to launch "soon." In September, BK Yoon, co-CEO and head of Samsung's consumer electronics business, said the company is working to combine technologies of its mobile division and audio component giant Harman to make the speaker.
Samsung completed an $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.
Bloomberg reported Samsung is planning a release in multiple markets for its smart speaker. The device is said to still need improvement on making voice-based web searches. It's not clear what the size of the device will be.
Samsung will be entering an increasingly crowded smart speaker market. In 2018, Samsung competitor Apple will also launch its HomePod, against other competition like the Amazon Echo lineup, Google Home lineup, and Harman Kardon Invoke.
In its report, Bloomberg also confirmed the existence of a touchscreen Google Home that could be released in early 2018. It could compete against the Amazon Echo Show, and we've seen its codename "Quartz" buried in Google code already.