SAMSUNG'S LONG-RUMOURED smart speaker will make its debut in the first half of 2018 to take on the Apple HomePod, according to Bloomberg.
The last we heard, Samsung had cancelled plans to release an AI-powered speaker due to "unbeatable" competition from the likes of Amazon's market-leading Echo and Google Home, along with a lack of interest in smart speakers in the Korean market.
However, Bloomberg reports this week that Samsung has changed its mind and now plans to launch its Bixby speaker, codenamed 'Vega', in the first half of next year.
While the newspaper's sources didn't provide many details about the device, they did corroborate earlier rumours that it will come with Bixby, Samsung's proprietary AI assistant, baked-in. The sources also claim that, like Apple's now-delayed HomePod, the device will have a "strong focus" on audio quality and the management of connected home appliances such as lights and locks.
In terms of looks, the speaker will allegedly be between the size of the Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod and will be released in multiple colours, including matte black. While Samsung had reportedly considered developing a speaker with a touchscreen similar to Amazon's Echo Show, it has reportedly decided not to equip the device with a screen, instead opting for lights on top for visual feedback.
The anonymous sources also claim that the so-called Samsung Vega will undercut the HomePod in terms of price, with the device set to launch for $200 (around £150).
However, the report notes that Samsung's pricing and release plans are "still fluid and may change", as the firm is still working on improving the device's ability to conduct voice-based web searches.
Separate reports this week claimed that Samsung's Galaxy S9 will make its official debut in February at MWC, so there's a chance that the firm's smart speaker could also make an appearance at the Barcelona tech show. µ
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