Samsung will reportedly launch its smart speaker in the first half of 2018, says a report from Bloomberg, citing people briefed on the plans. The Samsung smart speaker, which would compete with products from Amazon, Apple and Alphabet, would reportedly focus on the audio quality and management of connected home appliances such as lights and locks.
Samsung smart speaker – what to expect
The Samsung smart speaker would be powered by Bixby, Samsung’s answer to Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. The speaker from the South Korean electronics giant would be capable of connecting with the TV, Galaxy smartphones and other Samsung devices. Further, the Samsung smart speaker would not have a touchscreen, but there would be visual feedback systems including lights on the top.
According to Bloomberg, Samsung is considering releasing the smart speaker in several markets across the globe. The company is currently working on the voice quality of the smart speaker along with enhancing the voice-based web searches.
The size of the device is not clear yet, but Bloomberg says, “One prototype version of the Samsung speaker in testing is between the size of Amazon’s latest Echo and the HomePod, one of the people said.”
Samsung talked about its intention to launch a smart home speaker in August. At the time, the president of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh, shared few details about the speaker, stating that the device would arrive “soon.” Then, in September, BK Yoon, co-CEO and head of Samsung’s consumer electronics business, mentioned that the company is working with audio component giant Harman to make the speaker.
Earlier this year, Samsung acquired Harman for $8 billion, and both the companies are already working in close collaboration. Back in July, the Korean firm launched an LED screen for cinemas, which is powered by Harman audio systems.
Services more important than speakers
Just like Apple, Samsung will be a later entrant to the smart home speaker market, which was pioneered by the Amazon Alexa. In 2018, when Samsung plans to launch its smart speaker it will have to fight Apple’s HomePod, which will also debut next year, along with the Amazon Echo lineup, Google Home lineup, and Harman Kardon Invoke. Bloomberg also mentioned a touchscreen Google Home, which could be launched in early 2018.
It is not the speakers that generate big profits for the manufacturers, rather the voice assistant and services that are distributed through the device that help companies earn extra revenue. Amazon earns a profit each time a customer buys from its online store via Alexa on Echo gadgets. On the other hand, Google Home speakers offer the search engine to the Home users, and this helps it to sell products like its music services, notes Bloomberg.
Similarly, through HomePod, Apple would be looking to create a customer base for its HomeKit smart home platform, and also increase subscriptions to its own music services. A report from Gartner states that the voice-activated speakers market will hit $3.5 billion by 2021, up from $270 million in 2016. The opportunity is big, as many homes could have multiple speakers for different rooms, thus offering companies more access points.