It should not surprise anyone that Samsung is planning to enter the smart speaker market with a product of its own, one that is powered by its Bixby digital assistant. Smart speakers are in high demand, thanks in large part to Amazon and what it has been able to do with its Alexa-powered Echo products. Others have followed suit, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Samsung will join the fray within the next few months.
People briefed on Samsung's plans told Bloomberg that Samsung is aiming to launch a smart speaker powered by Bixby in the first half of 2018. Samsung will be going up against an increasingly crowded field of competitors, but that has not stopped the company from doing its own thing before. Bixby's existence is proof of that—even though Samsung's flagship smartphones run Android, the company created its own digital assistant, rather than throw its weight behind Google Now.
The same can be said of Tizen, to a lesser extent. While Tizen never really materialized as a viable alternative to Android in the smartphone space, Samsung still uses Tizen on its wearables, shunning Android Wear for its own OS. Tizen can also be found in some of Samsung's other products, including in-vehicle infotainment devices and smart TVs.
As for Samsung's upcoming smart speaker, there will be a strong focus on audio quality, which is always good to hear (see what we did there?) when it comes to speakers. It will also have strong integration with Internet of Thing (IoT) devices and other smart products, such as connected home appliances, smart locks, lighting, and so forth. And it will synchronize with Samsung's TVs, Galaxy phones, and other devices.
While nothing is yet official, Samsung is looking at a $200 price point. That's twice as much as Amazon's Echo speaker, though quite a bit cheaper than the Apple's HomePod, which will cost $349 when it releases next year. And of course Samsung's plans could change, depending on how the market shakes out between now and when its Bixby speaker comes out.