Samsung has entered the smart speaker market with the Galaxy Home, powered by the company's Bixby voice assistant.
Taking on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's HomePod, the Galaxy Home was revealed at a media event in New York today (August 9) alongside the Galaxy Note 9 smartphone and Galaxy Watch smartwatch.
Little was said about the Galaxy Home, other than that it is powered by Harman's AKG audio division - a partnership shared by the speakers of the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 smartphones.
Samsung's emphasis on sound quality will see it position the Galaxy Home as a premium alternative to the Apple HomePod, Sonos One, rather than the cheaper and less powerful Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges (Google Home Max notwithstanding). Samsung did not announce a price for the Galaxy Home, but we can expect it to sit in the $300 to $400 range, alongside the $349 HomePod.
Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek was at the event to announce how a partnership between Samsung and the music streaming service will bring deeper integration to a wide range of Samsung's connected products. Spotify will, in the near future, be controlled using Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, moving the user's music playback between Samsung devices, including smartphones, televisions, speakers and even smart fridges.
Wrapped in fabric and elevated on three legs, the egg-shaped Samsung speaker has a striking design compared to the somewhat monolithic HomePod and Sonos One. The way it sits on pronounced legs reminds us of the BeoPlay A9 by Bang & Olufsen.
The Galaxy Home has six speakers and a downwards-firing subwoofer producing what Samsung claims is surround sound-like acoustics. Just like other smart speakers, you can interact with the Galaxy Home by saying "hey Bixby" to get the assistant's attention, then ask it to play music of your choice.
Samsung did not elaborate on what else Bixby on the Galaxy Home can do, although we suspect it will have a similar skill set to Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri on their respective speakers. However, Bixby has so far struggled to match its rivals for intelligence and ability - and at one point during the event today failed to understand an instruction.
The Galaxy Home does not yet have a price or release dateGearBrain
There was curiously no mention of Samsung SmartThings at today's event, but the message from Samsung is clear - it wants to combine all of its smart home devices (from phones and televisions, to speakers, washing machines and fridges) into one intelligent ecosystem.
Hopefully Samsung will have more to share on these plans, and on the Galaxy Home, at the IFA technology show in Berlin, which takes place at the end of August. Samsung will be hosting a press conference in Berlin on August 30, which GearBrain will be attending.