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July 5, 2017

Samsung Making A Bixby Smart Speaker?

Samsung is said to be making a Bixby powered smart speaker codenamed Vega, but do we need another one? and more to the point do we want another smart speaker?

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Samsung has yet confirm this, but reports suggest that one is on its way. According to a post by the WSJ and Engadget the speaker possibly in the development stage, but beyond that information is very scarce. I have however found a blog post from Samsung executive which outlines their upcoming plans for Bixby.  From what I’ve read it looks like they want to go all Skynet on us and integrate Bixby into everything. You can read the post here if you want to get more information on their plans. As in-depth as the post is there are no actual specifications, design choices or even plans, so it’ll be interesting to see what Samsung can bring to the table.

What we do know though is that it will incorporate Samsungs own voice assistant Bixby. Now if you are unfamiliar with Bixby, its Samsungs answer to Cortana, Siri and Google now. Bixby comes pre-built into the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ and is said to enhance you smartphone experience. But from what I’ve seen not many owners of the phone are actually using the feature.  So is it really smart for Samsung to base a new product on something that not everybody likes?

Well yes and no. On the one hand Samsung has a decent past record when it comes to making good quality Bluetooth speakers. They have their Level Bluetooth speakers as well as a more premium R range of multi-room speakers. Both of which are good in their own right.

sam-speak-fix

So they aren’t exactly new to the speaker market, but smart speakers are a little different. Not only do they have to pack in smart features, they also have to sound good too. Otherwise its a speaker that you talk to. Now Samsung may have the sound part down, but blending that with Bixby and delivering a coherent experience is another challenge. Both Google and Amazon have done a good job with their respective offerings and Apple are set to join the fold too. So the market is already starting to fill up with offerings and all of which have a better track record at capable voice assistants. Bixby is the new comer and I think it might have a hard time to break into this market as the competition is more liked and has a more comprehensive history.

But maybe this is all too early to assume as the speaker hasn’t been confirmed yet, so I think it would be wise for Samsung to make Bixby the best it can be and then think about turning it into a smart speaker, otherwise its likely to under perform and flop when it does eventually come out. On the flip side, the lack of announcements could mean that they are actually making progress with Bixby behind the scenes and trying to create a better experience for the consumer before they do bring anything to market. This would be the smart choice as Bixby is not exactly everyones preferred virtual assistant.

Heading back to the beginning of this post and to answer my first question “do we need another smart speaker?” well I would say…

Yes. Having more competition in a given field is never a bad thing. Competition creates innovation and innovation brings us better products, so having more is in my opinion a good thing. Also to note that if you are a Galaxy S8 or S8+ owner the Bixby speaker is likely to mesh really well with that and offer an enhanced experience just like what Apple is offering. But any this is just pure speculation at this point.

To answer my second question “do we want another smart speaker?” the answer again would in my opinion be yes. According to eMarketer the number of activated smart speakers in the US alone is almost at 36 million with Amazons Echo leading the charge. So it looks like this trend of smart home tech is not slowing down anytime soon. Now if Samsung could tweak and improve Bixby they could try and offer something a little different. They could use their own unique style and incorporate that to push their way into the market and have a degree of success. They’ve done it with their smartphones, so maybe they could here too.

All I know is that I’m personally quite excited to see how this unfolds and to see how Samsung tackle this. I just hope they don’t cop out and make a clone of whats on offer already.

 

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Weston

Hey I’m Weston and I’d definitely say that I’m a technology enthusiast. I’ve been in the tech space a while and I really love pretty much anything tech or tech related.

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