Samsung was tipped to release a smart speaker during the first half of 2018 in a bid to compete with Amazon, Google and Apple in the increasingly crowded artificial intelligence (AI) home assistant market.
A report by Bloomberg said Samsung would use its Bixby voice assistant – which suffered a number of language problems since its first appearance in South Korea during March – and market the speaker based on the quality of its audio.
The news portal’s sources said the speaker would connect with Samsung’s wide range of home electronics and mobile devices, and could be used as a smart home hub – in the same way as rival speakers already available.
After a delayed start in English speaking markets Bixby is now available on flagship Samsung devices in more than 200 countries, the company revealed in late August.
In an apparent bid to further improve its voice assistant, Samsung acquired South Korean AI start-up Fluently in November.
Entering the smart speaker market would pitch Samsung into an area identified as a priority by a number of high-profile companies.
Although rivals including Apple and even operator Deutsche Telekom are poised to enter the smart speaker market, a Strategy Analytics report released earlier this week revealed Amazon and Google remained the dominant players during Q3 2017.
The company estimated Amazon’s Q3 shipment share at 67 per cent, with Google providing 25 per cent of a total of 7.4 million global smart speaker shipments during the quarter.
David Watkins, director of Strategy Analytics’ Smart Speaker research unit, said: “Competition in the smart speaker market is becoming fierce as the fledgling category welcomes new entrants such as Harman Kardon, Sony and Sonos, all of whom have a much richer audio heritage than Amazon or Google.
“The competitive landscape will heat up even further in 2018 and we expect to see the introduction of a new wave of third party devices that support one or even both of the Alexa and Google Assistant voice AI platforms. All of this activity will of course pile more pressure on Apple whose own Siri-based HomePod speaker failed to materialise in time for the holiday season and will now make its debut in 2018.”