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Samsung Working On Bixby-Based Speaker Device To Take On Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod

The market for little speaker boxes that listen for commands or requests and then spurt out a response continues to grow with the likes of Amazon and Google already duking it out and Apple set to join the fray in December with its own HomePod.

Rumors of a speaker-based voice assistant device with a Samsung or Bixby logo also being in the works have circulated for a good long while now, and it seems that the company is again working to bring its own solution to market.

Set to use its new Bixby assistant at its heart, the new device is still under development inside Samsung and as such there is no expectation yet as to when it may become available. However, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the project is most definitely in the works.

Samsung is developing a voice-activated speaker powered by its digital assistant Bixby, according to people familiar with the matter, joining a proliferating arms race in tabletop devices.

The timing is far from determined, the people said. The English-language version of Bixby has been delayed and they said many of the speaker’s features and other specifications are yet to be decided. But the project—internally code-named “Vega”—has been going on for more than a year, several of the people said.

Even with this apparent confirmation that a Bixby-powered home assistant is being worked on, it is still very possible that it may never see the light of day. As the WSJ also confirmed, a similar product was indeed under development inside Samsung previously, with a launch for early 2015 canned following the discovery of technical difficulties preventing the device’s release.

Vega is only the latest of Samsung’s speaker projects, which go back years, according to people familiar with the matter. The company had once planned to debut one code-named “Hive” in March 2015 at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, the people said, but it was quietly shelved over software issues including problems with voice recognition.

This may turn out to be the cause of problems for Project Vega as well, with the Bixby that is inside the Galaxy S8 smartphone still not fully baked. We expect it to fully roll out there before Samsung dips its toe into the water with a home assistant as well.

(source: The Wall Street Journal)

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