Both Amazon and Google currently dominate the smart speaker market, but that doesn’t mean they won’t face competition from some other deep-pocketed manufacturers. Samsung has now finally entered the smart speaker market with the Bixby-powered Galaxy Home, and speaker may not look like a traditional smart speaker, but the good news is that it shouldn’t sound like one either.
Rather than competing for the low-end, which is all but wrapped up by affordable devices such as the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, Samsung is positioning the Galaxy Home as an Apple HomePod competitor. That should mean that the audio quality coming out of the Galaxy Home will be better than your average smart speaker.
Samsung has a lot of audio experience, thanks to its stake in the home entertainment market, and its acquisition of Harman gave it even more. As a result, the Galaxy Home boasts six built-in speakers, 360° sound and should also deliver deep bass thanks to an in-built subwoofer. Rather uniquely, the 360° sound can also be directed towards a specific area if the speaker isn’t in the centre of the room – which more often than not, it won’t be.
It’s All About Bixby
Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy Home isn’t going to ship with either Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. That’s because Samsung has chosen to concentrate on its own digital AI dubbed Bixby. Unfortunately, Bixby isn’t universally liked and isn’t as smart as the more traditional offerings, but that should improve with time. This is the same problem Apple faces with Siri on the HomePod, however.
Samsung has announced improvements to Bixby, and that should hopefully solve some of the problems Galaxy smartphone owners have faced. Whether it will be able to match the smarts of Alexa or the Google Assistant remains to be seen, but we’re hoping to see it work faster and answer questions a lot better.
Galaxy Home Design
There’s no denying that the Galaxy Home is a striking device. In fact, it looks like no other smart speaker on the market, and that’s not entirely accidental. Samsung has said that this speaker is designed to both sound great and look elegant, and well, that will be down to personal taste. Most people who have seen the Galaxy Home thus far have commented how it looks like a BBQ, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
The Galaxy Home ships with metal legs, which no other smart speaker does, and it doesn’t appear that they’re detachable. It has a flat top with control buttons on it for skipping tracks and changing the volume, and that’s about it.
When Will The Galaxy Home Be Available?
The Galaxy Home has yet to receive a release date, but Samsung has confirmed that it will be sharing more details about the speaker at a developer’s conference in November. We should hopefully learn a few new details about the speaker at that conference, as other things are still as of yet unknown. For instance, Samsung announced a partnership with Spotify but failed to note whether or not it will be the exclusive streaming service of the Galaxy Home, or whether other streaming services will be available. The company also failed to mention any support for third-party apps, or much in the way of smart home control.
One thing that everyone will be wondering will be the price. Samsung is clearly going head-to-head with Apple, meaning somewhere around the £349 range won’t be too unexpected. It’s almost guaranteed that this speaker won’t boast a sub-£100 price tag like the Amazon Echo, however, although it remains to be seen if there’s much of a market for dumb smart speakers.