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Samsung will release a premium Bixby speaker in the second half of 2018

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Bixby’s strengths (and weaknesses) will soon be put on full display.

Smart speakers are quickly becoming one of the hottest new markets in the consumer tech space, and it’s currently dominated by the likes of Amazon and Google.

Apple just stepped into the ring with its own HomePod speaker, and in the second-half of 2018, Samsung will do the same.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Samsung’s head of mobile operations, DJ Koh, confirmed this news, saying:

When I introduce the first model, I don’t want to give the impression that Samsung delivered another affordable mass model. I want to focus on more premium.

This sounds a lot like Apple’s approach with the HomePod, and unfortunately, Samsung’s speaker will likely be plagued by one of the HomePod’s worst features — a subpar virtual assistant.

Siri pales in comparison on the HomePod when compared to speakers powered by Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, and we’ll likely be faced with a similar (if not worse) scenario with a speaker that relies on Bixby for user interaction and control. Samsung can still pull ahead by not restricting customers to just one music streaming service like Apple does, but it remains to be seen if that’ll be enough to make people interested.

How much will Samsung’s Bixby speaker cost? A report from December suggested that it would sell for around $200, but Koh’s most recent comment suggests it’ll have a price more along the lines of the HomePod or Google Home Max. If that’s the case, Samsung’s going to have to really knock the hardware and sound quality out of the park if it wants to convince people to get its product over something like the Home Max, or even the regular Google Home.

Whether or not you’re a Samsung fan, are you looking forward to a Bixby smart speaker?

Job listings suggest that Spotify is working on its own smart speaker

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