What just happened? It seems like getting into the smart speaker market is tough, unless you're Amazon, in which case your speakers have been echoing in homes for quite some time. Even Apple had to push back the release of its high-end HomePod speaker in late 2017, and now Samsung will be joining the party late with its Galaxy Home in Q3 this year.
Here's a question: What's coming first, the Galaxy Fold or the Galaxy Home? While both devices are targeting different market segments, the wealth of features they both aspire to bring to the table might be getting a bit too hard for Samsung to get right.
The company's smart speaker made its first appearance alongside the public unveiling of the Note 9 in August last year. Since then, things have stayed quiet around the device. Samsung later spoke to Android Authority teasing a release for the end of June 2019 but now that's been pushed back again.
"The Galaxy Home speaker, which will be the center of Samsung’s home appliances, is planned to be launched in mid-second half of the year,” Samsung's President and Head of Consumer Electronics Hyun-Suk Kim told The Korea Herald in response to a question. Other executives within the company believe this time frame to be in the third quarter.
Samsung's Bixby AI that will power the Galaxy Home never really got on with the public. The company even went as far as to place a dedicated launch button for its virtual assistant on the Galaxy S and Note line-up in a bid to make it mainstream but most felt like it was being forced down their throats, especially when Google's more powerful and capable assistant was just sitting alongside.
With Android 9 Pie, Samsung finally caved in and allowed some customization for the Bixby button. Now a double press takes you to Bixby Home from where you can remap the single press action to anything you like.
Samsung expects its Galaxy Home speaker to become the hub of its smart home functionalities. That means your phone will be conversing with your refrigerator, washing machine and other electronics as long as they're all running on Bixby. "The AI speaker will help achieve completion of Samsung’s IoT initiative,” Kim said during the launch of the company's new Bespoke line-up of refrigerators.