Samsung has quietly announced a new Bixby-powered smart speaker called the Galaxy Home Mini.
The speaker is similar in appearance to the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, is controlled by speaking to Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, and taps into the company's SmartThings system for controlling smart home devices.
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Samsung is offering the speaker to buyers as part of a public beta test in its native South Korea. Those interested in trying out the Galaxy Home Mini can apply through Samsung's website until September 1. The application process is only open for a total of five days, and Samsung says it is looking for just 3,000 people to try out the speaker.
This is something Amazon has also done in the past with some of its Alexa-powered products. The Echo Look for example, was offered as a beta product for some time, and so too was the Echo Auto car accessory.
Owning a product while it is being beta tested will also likely mean feeding back to Samsung about how it works, and how it doesn't work. As users of Apples iOS beta software will know, this can result in a bug-filed and frustrating experience if you rely on the device for work. With a small smart speaker the steaks here are naturally somewhat lower.
The Home Mini works with smart home devices via SmartThingsSamsung
It could be that Samsung wants to test out its Bixby voice assistant, which has so far only existing on a handful of its flagship smartphones, and is yet to make its public debut on a smart speaker.
All of this makes us wonder - yet again - what has happened to the original Galaxy Home? Samsung's first smart speaker was first announced back in August 2018, but is still yet to go on sale. Samsung also has not said how much the speaker will cost, or revealed much about what it can do. All we know is what it looks like, and that it works with Bixby.
Such a slow launch clearly suggests Samsung has struggled to create a product it is happy to sell, and it has missed a couple of its own deadlines over the past 12 months.
It was first thought the Galaxy Home would rival other premium smart speakers like the Apple HomePod and Sonos One, but now we are left to wonder if the product will ever arrive - or is Samsung has changed direction, and will instead go after the lower end of the market, challenging the Echo Dot and Home Mini with its new, smaller speaker.Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Samsung SmartThings.