The latest smart speaker technology has taken the world by storm. Both Amazon and Google have already established their products in the market, namely, the Echo and Home. Apple, which was initially not very interested in the space, was also seen teasing the HomePod at its latest developer conference. Now Samsung too has decided to introduce one of its own products before it’s too late, according to The Wall Street Journal.

HomePod Smart Speaker
ScreenShot Source: apple.com

Samsung’s Bixby slows the development of Vega

According to the WSJ, the Vega, or Samsung’s Bixby-powered smart speaker, is still not complete. Though not many details about Samsung’s Vega are available, the WSJ claims that the smart speaker will be powered by Bixby, the company’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Bixby can also be blamed for the slow development of the Vega, claims the WSJ.

Bixby, which was highlighted as a prominent feature at the time of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ launches, is still not available in English, and according to the WSJ, the voice assistant is “unlikely” to be rolled “before the second half of July.” So it is safe to assume that Samsung’s Vega speaker will not hit the market anytime soon.

“The English- language version of the Bixby has been delayed, and they (sources) said that many of the speaker’s features and other specifications are yet to be decided,” says the WSJ.

This is not the first time reports about Samsung working on a smart speaker have surfaced. Previously, a Samsung patent for an “audio” device was unearthed, suggesting that a smart speaker system with a screen mounted on a tripod is in the works. In June, The Korea Herald claimed that Samsung was planning a smart speaker powered by Bixby.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s latest news will put more pressure on Microsoft, which is also reportedly working on a speaker. The Redmond-based tech giant entered into a contract with Harman International to develop the voice-controlled technology for its upcoming smart speaker. However, Samsung acquired Harman later, notes GeekWire.

The smart speaker segment is growing

These smart speakers can be used anywhere and serve a host of purposes for users without them needing to even look at the device or hold it in their hands. Future smart homes will likely have smart speakers as the prime focus instead of phones, several tech companies believe now. Strategy Analytics reported that last year, about 1.8 million smart speakers were sold, and this figure is expected to go up to 15 million units by 2020.

Amazon with its complete Echo range is the current leader in the smart speaker market. Google is working hard to gain a strong foothold on the market with its Home speaker. There are also reports that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba intends to launch a product similar to the Amazon Echo.

It will be interesting to see how Samsung markets its new product, as the segment already has a few products catering to different user bases. Amazon and Google are offering their respective home speakers, the Echo Dot and Home smart speaker, at $49 and $129, respectively. Apple, on the other hand, will cater to the premium segment with a smart speaker priced at $349.