Samsung Unveils Bixby-Powered Galaxy Home, But Is It A HomePod Killer?


As it turns out, the rumors were true. Indeed, Samsung has reserved a spot in the smart speaker race by putting its Galaxy Home in the battlefield, which at this point is largely dominated by the Google Home and Amazon Echo.

The Galaxy Home, however, doesn't intend to compete directly with those heavyweights. Rather, Samsung wants it to take on the Apple HomePod, which is less of a smart speaker and more of a premium speaker.

Galaxy Home Promises High-Quality Audio

Similar to the HomePod, the Galaxy Home is a high-end speaker that promises higher-quality audio than its competitors. Samsung says the speaker combines "amazing sound and elegant design."

In terms of design, the Galaxy Home is certainly one the more interesting devices in the entire smart speaker landscape. It's a cross between a vase, a statue, and an art piece, with a stout "pod" elevated by three metallic legs. The top is flat and features control buttons for skipping tracks and changing the volume.

Samsung says the speaker is supposed to deliver surround sound-style audio using its six built-in speakers plus a subwoofer. It also has eight far-field microphones for detecting voice input even when they're physically far from the device. Users have to say "Hi, Bixby" to activate the Bixby assistant and ask it to perform a number of tasks, such as playing music. Samsung indicated it would be able to do many of the things it already does on Galaxy handsets.

Beyond everything mentioned above, there is not much information about the speaker right now. Samsung doesn't seem ready to announce the Galaxy Home's full specifications just yet. The device isn't even included in its press releases and doesn't appear on its website. The company says it's going to share more details during a developer conference in November.

The Key Is Bixby

Despite the lack of information, many people are probably wondering if Bixby can hold up to the competition. Trying to be as good as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa is certainly going to be a tall order, and improving a digital assistant simply doesn't happen overnight. Just ask Apple — even after many updates and engineers putting in hours of work, plenty of fans still think Siri sucks.

Few have testified about the merits of Samsung's own digital assistant, and even fewer can say they enjoy using it over Google Assistant, which is also available on all compatible Android handsets. Factor in the fact that Samsung is heading into an already-crowded market, with Amazon taking the lead with its Echo devices.

Who knows, though? If Samsung prices the Galaxy Home right, audiences might really gravitate toward it instead of the HomePod. Bixby just has to be smarter than Google Assistant and Alexa if Samsung wants to have any chance at disrupting the smart speaker landscape.

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