As we are about to enter 2018, reports of some new smart devices have started hitting the Web. Amongst other developments, Samsung is in the news for preparing its smart speaker with Bixby voice assistant integration for the first half of next year. Google is also said to have plans to expand its footprints in the nascent space of connected devices in 2018 with a new Google Home model that will feature a display panel, similar to Amazon’s Echo Show.
The development of Samsung’s Bixby-based smart speaker was first reported in July this year and was initially expected to be unveiled sometime this year. However, a report by Bloomberg now claims that the new device will be unveiled next year with a “strong focus” on audio quality and enabling compatibility with connected home appliances including lights and locks. The Bloomberg report, citing sources familiar with the development, that in addition to Bixby integration, the smart speaker by Samsung will synchronise with TVs, Android-running Galaxy smartphones, and other Samsung devices. We can also expect its compatibility with connected devices and services offered by SmartThings, which was acquired by Samsung in 2014.
One of the prototypes of Samsung’s smart speaker is claimed to sit between the size of Amazon’s latest Echo model and Apple’s HomePod. Also, the device is said to have multiple colour options, including a Matte Black finish, and some notification lights to deliver visual feedback sans the availability of a screen.
As voice-activated smart speakers require speech recognition technology, Samsung is reportedly working on make its new development fluent enough to conduct voice-based Web searches. The South Korean company earlier this year unveiled Bixby 2.0 as an upgrade to the original voice assistant.
Unlike the HomePod that Apple unveiled with a price tag of $349 (approximately Rs. 22,370), the Samsung speaker will come with a price at around $200 (roughly Rs. 12,800). This suggests that Samsung’s offering would be more expansive than the $129 Google Home and $99 Amazon Echo that both are already competing against Apple’s HomePod.
In a separate report, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claimed that Google is working a touch version of its Home speaker to take on Amazon’s Echo Show that was unveiled earlier this year. This is not the first time when Google is rumoured to be developing its Echo Show competitor. A TechCrunch report back in September claimed that the speaker with a 7-inch screen is in development with the codename “Manhattan”. The available screen is expected to run a tweaked version of Android along with Google Assistant integration and dedicated access to YouTube.
While the launch of Google’s Echo Show rival competitor hasn’t yet been confirmed, Gurman states that the device will go on sale as early as next year. If this is what Google planning for next year, we can expect some heat for Amazon’s Echo Show that is yet to reach global markets, including India.