Samsung has announced its first smart speaker, called the Galaxy Home, as the South Korean company entered the voice technology fray to compete with Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod in the smart home space.
Samsung brought a new design to the speaker market. The Galaxy Home is vase-shaped with three supporting metal stands at the bottom. Control buttons for volume and others lie on the flat top of the device.
The speaker features six built-in speakers and a subwoofer, allowing it to deliver quality audio in the entertainment context. The company said the device combines “amazing sound and elegant design,” at a press event. It also has eight far-field microphones to detect homeowners’ “Hi, Bixby” wakeup commands.
Bixby, Samsung’s in-house voice assistant, will power the Galaxy Home speaker. At the press event, the company also showcased a more conversational Bixby than it was before.
Bixby doesn’t require commands that are exactly phrased to activate third-party applications. For example, a command like “buy a ticket” will trigger purchase actions in Ticketmaster, and “how to get to the nearest supermarket” will trigger the navigation feature. The assistant will support Yelp, Uber, Ticketmaster, Fandango, OpenTable and Google Maps soon.
Furthermore, Bixby learns users’ habits over time. For example, while asking for restaurant reservation, the assistant will recommend a list of restaurants based on their booking history and fill up the number of people and the time based on prior bookings.
“It’s not a voice assistant. It’s an intelligent interface that will change the way you interact with the phone,” said Samsung back in mid-2017. The company aims to make the assistant a helper for controlling every smart devices by voice.
Bixby is a derivative product from voice startup Viv, a company created by ex-Siri engineers and bought by Samsung in 2016. Samsung said it will bring Bixby to all of its connected devices by 2020, from smartphones, smart refrigerators, to smart TVs and connected washing machines.
Samsung didn’t provide further software, hardware, shipping and price details about the Galaxy Home. They will be shared at the company’s developer conference in early November.