After Apple, Google and Amazon, Samsung is set to become the next big technology giant to fight for a place in your home’s living room.
Just like its rivals, the South Korean smartphone maker is launching its own smart speaker line with built-in AI assistant – but there’s a big catch: the new speaker will set Samsung customers back by $300, a much higher asking price than Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Home devices. However, the speaker will still be cheaper than Apple’s HomePod which retails for $349.
So why exactly are Samsung’s speakers much higher in price than other competitors? Apparently, the company is introducing some cool features that you won’t find anywhere else in the market.
A High-End Gadget
Smart home technology with built-in AI assistant is the new kid on the tech block, and Samsung is the latest company on the growing list of companies manufacturing their home gadgets with signature voice assistants.
With the use of smart speaker expected to grow from 50 million in 2017 to almost double by the end of this year, Samsung is eager to have its slice of the pie. But the South Korean tech giant faces serious competition from companies like Amazon, Google and Apple who have already gained a strong foothold in the smart speaker market.
According to the Wall Street Journal the new gadget from Samsung will boast an innovative bowl-shaped sleek design which is lit on top and has legs attached to the bottom.
The speaker, codenamed ‘Lux’ will be a much higher-end music device than Amazon’s Echo line or Google’s Home devices with cool features like sound shifting which allows the speaker to detect the position of the listener and automatically direct the audio towards them. This probably explains why Samsung’s price point is expected to be much higher than some of its established rivals.
Problems with its Digital Assistant
But Samsung’s competition has never really been with Google and Amazon which is why it doesn’t seem to care much about competing on price point. Instead, the company wants to go head to head with Apple in terms of innovation and design – after all, it has always really been Apple vs. Samsung.
The high-end speaker will also come with Samsung’s very own built-in digital assistant named Bixby. Just like with Siri and Alexa, users can directly interact with Samsung’s assistant and initiate a conversation by simply saying, ‘Hi, Bixby.’ However, there is a tiny hiccup: since the company’s digital assistant technology is still relatively new, Bixby will not be as intelligent as its competitors Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant.
Since the assistant only made its debut recently in Galaxy S8 devices, its command over object recognition is still relatively weak. This means that users won’t be able to have as smooth of an interaction with Bixby as they would with Siri or Alexa. So, if you want to order an Uber, get home delivery service or shop online through voice commands, Samsung’s speaker is not the right choice for you – at least not for now.
But since the company is serious about its gadget’s audio quality and music streaming skills, you shouldn’t have trouble interacting with music controls through voice commands such as telling the assistant to open Spotify or other music streaming apps.
Future AI Improvements
Samsung says that the assistant technology will evolve immensely with time and hopefully the second-generational speakers will be able to interact intelligently with other smart home gadgets such as security cameras, smart light bulbs, home security systems and more.
This also means that there is potential for Samsung to penetrate further into the smart home appliance market and introduce its own home gadgets that are compatible with its smart speaker and new AI assistant technology.
Samsung is already working on adding new features to its AI technology which will tackle some of the challenges mentioned above. The new-and-improved Bixby 2.0 will debut next month in Galaxy Note 9, the new smartwatch, Galaxy Watch, and even the smart speaker which is rumored to be unveiled at New York’s Unpacked event on August 9.