With the CES technology show just around the corner, news of what to expect from 2019 is starting to leak out.
The latest technology gossip claims Samsung is planning to bring the third-party voice assistants to its televisions next year, with the Google Assistant a potential candidate.
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It is claimed the first models could be shown off as soon as CES, which kicks off in Las Vegas on January 8.
This is according to a report from Variety, which has spoken with sources familiar with Samsung's plans for its future television lineup. They also say Samsung will put a larger emphasis on audio quality, including a feature which tunes the television's sound based on its physical environment, like the Apple HomePod does.
The report states: "Samsung is preparing to integrate third-party voice assistants into its 2019 line of TV sets...The company may announce a partnership with Google to integrate Google Assistant as early as next month, when it will unveil next year's TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show".
Samsung is yet to confirm these claims, but recently said its 2019 TV lineup will include improvements of its Frame and Serif TV models.
If Samsung does indeed start offering the Google Assistant on its televisions, this makes us wonder what the future holds for Bixby, the company's in-house voice assistant. The company's current TVs include Bixby, but its uses are limited compared to what the Google Assistant (and Alexa) on televisions made by LG is capable of. This is unfortunate for Samsung, as based on picture quality, design and software they are among the very best available.
Bixby was added to Samsung TVs in 2018 and can be used to control video playback, but cannot perform other simple tasks like open third-party applications, like Netflix. Google Assistant would immediately give Samsung's televisions far more intelligence and voice-controlled capabilities, such as playing content from streaming services, answering general knowledge questions, providing information on the weather, news, and local amenities, and much more besides.
While Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and the Google Assistant dominate the market, Samsung has struggled to get Bixby into the same position. This is partly down to Bixby initially only working with Samsung apps on the company's flagship smartphones, but has been compounded by fewer features, and an intelligence which lags behind its rivals.
While it sounds simple enough to bring the Google Assistant to a television, smart speaker company Sonos has demonstrated through 2018 how tricky adding the assistant to a non-Google device can be. After saying the Google Assistant would join Amazon Alexa on its Sonos One speaker a year ago, it was recently delayed until early-2019, as more testing was required.
Samsung is also yet to enter the smart speaker market. Despite announcing the Bixby-powered Galaxy Home back in August, it hasn't yet gone on sale, and nor does it have a price or release date.
As for improved audio from its televisions, Variety notes that Samsung registered for several trademarks in November which relate to TV sound tech. These include technologies called 'audio spatial intelligence', 'volume intelligence' and 'audio scenic intelligence'. It seems logical that these technologies could also appear on the Galaxy Home, which is expected to rival the Apple Home Pod and Sonos One at the premium end of the smart speaker spectrum.
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