It seems that every major company is now obliged to release a smart speaker. Not wanting to be left behind by Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, Samsung has apparently become the latest tech giant to jump on the bandwagon.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the South Korean firm is working on a smart speaker device that’s powered by its new Bixby AI voice assistant.
The project is codenamed Vega (no relation to AMD's Vega, obviously), and has been in development for over a year. It’s still unclear when the product will be available – it’s reportedly been delayed because support for English voice commands using Bixby, which launched on the Galaxy S8/S8+, isn't yet available.
While Bixby voice support started rolling out in early beta form for S8 owners last month, the Wall Street Journal notes that the full release of Bixby voice support is unlikely to arrive “before the second half of July,” so expect the smart speaker to arrive later rather than sooner.
When Vega does get here, Samsung will enter a market awash with smart speakers from its rivals. In addition to Google Home and Amazon’s Echo line, the company will be competing against the upcoming Apple HomePod and Microsoft/Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered Invoke. If it wants to stand out from the crowd, Vega may have to offer something different and/or be better value for money.
While many people are unsure why they would even need a smart speaker, especially when their smartphones perform many similar functions, sales of the devices continue to grow, jumping 1000 percent this past holiday season compared to the same period a year earlier.