Samsung has not hidden the fact that it plans to launch a smart speaker with Bixby integration called the Galaxy Home, and according to its product page, it is "coming soon." How soon, you ask? Samsung's mobile boss DJ Koh indicated it will launch by April, though he did not give an exact release date.
There was no mention of the Galaxy Home during yesterday's Unpacked event, in which Samsung unveiled a bunch of Galaxy S10 handsets, the Galaxy Fold, a few new smartwatches, and wireless Galaxy Buds. It was a pretty robust event even without the Galaxy Home being a part of the product bonanza.
After the event, however, CNET said it spoke with DJ Koh, who indicated that the Galaxy Home is headed for a launch within the next several weeks. No other details were made available.
The smart speaker market is growing fast, bolstered by Amazon's Echo product line and a string of competitors, such Google's Home speakers and Apple's HomePod. Recent data provided by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) indicates the total install base in the US market sits at 66 million.
As with other smart speakers already on the market, users will be able to control the Galaxy Home with their voice, through Bixby integration. However, having a digital assistant baked in is not the only thing that makes the Galaxy Home "smart."
"Galaxy Home is the only AI speaker that intuitively moves a wave of sound directly toward you when you ask it to. So no matter where you are in the room, you’ll find yourself immersed in sound," Samsung says.
It is an interesting concept, and one we can envision it evolving beyond voice input to achieve the same effect. For example, embedded sensors that detect a listener's position could allow a smart speaker to adjust the sound accordingly, without being asked to do so.
That is a topic for another day, though. In the more immediate future, the Galaxy Home will give Samsung another way to spread its Bixby voice assistant to more users, which itself is a competitive field as well.
As for pricing, we'll have to wait and see if Samsung positions the Galaxy Home closer to Apple's HomePod ($349) Google's Home Max ($399), or closer to Amazon's standard 2nd generation Echo ($100).