Samsung is reportedly gearing up to launch its own smart speaker powered by Bixby and a new report claims it will hit the scene in the first half of 2018.

The smart speaker market is booming and it's already getting pretty crowded, with big players such as Amazon, Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, and others. Amazon Echo speakers with Alexa support currently dominate the trend, but Google Home speakers are catching up and Apple aims to compete with its HomePod, albeit it has yet to hit the market.

Samsung Bixby-Powered Smart Speaker

Citing sources familiar with Samsung's plans, Bloomberg reports that a Bixby-powered smart speaker will make its debut in the first half of next year, focusing on audio quality and controlling connected home appliances such as smart locks, lights, and the like.

Samsung's smart home speaker will have Bixby smarts and sync with Samsung Galaxy smartphones as well as TVs and other Samsung devices. It will also play nice with SmartThings, which joined Samsung back in 2014. Bixby is Samsung's own digital assistant, launched earlier this year to rival Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Samsung Smart Speaker Pricing And Availability

Bloomberg notes that Samsung plans to launch its Bixby-powered smart home speaker in several markets and the United States could be one of them. According to Bloomberg's sources, the company is considering a price point of roughly $200.

By comparison, the flagship Amazon Echo retails for about $100, while the Apple HomePod will hit retail next year at a $349 price point. If the $200 price point turns out to be accurate, Samsung's smart speaker would fit somewhere between the affordable Echo and the steeper HomePod.

Nothing's set in stone just yet, however, and Bloomberg's sources highlight that the price and release plans for Samsung's smart speaker may still change. Samsung is reportedly still working on enabling the smart speaker to conduct web searches via voice commands.

The device is still in the prototype stage at this point, but final versions could come in various color options. The Bixby-powered smart speaker will reportedly not feature a touchscreen, but it will sport a system that offers visual feedback through lights at the top of the device.

At $200, the purported Samsung smart speaker would come well below Apple's HomePod. It remains to be seen, however, whether it will manage to sway consumers away from the cheaper Amazon Echo.

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