Before its Galaxy Note 8 unpacking event is held, Samsung confirmed a rumored news that it is working on a smart speaker, in an interview with CNBC.
“Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it,” said DJ Koh, the president of Samsung’s mobile division to the media outlet. “As I mentioned I wanted to provide a fruitful user experience at home with Samsung devices, and I want to be moving quite heavily on it.”
In other words, Samsung will engage in direct competition with Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft with its smart speaker. However, it’s not yet clear whether the speaker will be powered by Samsung’s new AI assistant Bixby.
After acquiring Siri’s creator team Viv Labs last October, Samsung made the first official announcement on its new AI voice assistant in March. It promised the smart assistant would meet with users along with the shipment of Galaxy S8. However, the launch was delayed until July.
Currently the smart assistant supports English and Korean, and has been released in 200 countries worldwide. Only Samsung’s flagship smartphone products are equipped with Bixby – Galaxy S8/S8+ and the upcoming Note 8.
A function called Bixby Home is available in the smartphones, which allows users to connect their home gadgets to the smartphone and voice-control them via Bixby.
Furthermore, the company rolled out Bixby feature for its smart refrigerator the Samsung Family Hub 2.0, which the company once said to serve as the control home hub for a smart home.
As the company claims, Bixby is powered by deep learning algorithms and expands its knowledge about the owners and adapt to their lifestyle over time. The data gathering goes across devices, so what Bixby learns from installed in a refrigerator will integrate with the one in a smartphone. The overall Bixby becomes more powerful and more intelligent through time.
More, the company said the assistant is able to understand the nuances of human sentences and offers context-aware conversations so that users can talk with it like a real human, instead of certain word-composition commands.
Koh didn’t give a timeline of the company’s smart speaker announcement. If Bixby’s speech recognition performs as the company claimed, the smart speaker should be competitive enough against Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod.
Bixby now only works with Samsung’s smartphone apps and some smart home gadgets. As the announcement at the Note 8 event, the voice assistant will soon support music playing via Spotify.