With Bixby still MIA, Samsung scrambling to build Apple HomePod competing smart speaker

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited July 2017
On the heels of Apple's HomePod announcement, Samsung is said to be working on its own foray into the smart speaker space, although the South Korean company's voice-driven personal assistant, Bixby, hasn't even launched in the U.S.




Samsung's speaker accessory has been in the works for over a year under the codename "Vega," according to The Wall Street Journal. It remains unclear when the device could launch, but expansion into the space would allow the company to compete with the likes of Amazon's Echo lineup and Apple's forthcoming $349 HomePod.

But there's a wrinkle: Samsung's voice control platform, Bixby, apparently doesn't understand English very well. That has led to multiple delays from the platform's originally intended May launch date, with The Korea Herald citing Samsung's lack of access to big data.

Bixby is intended to be Samsung's competitor to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant.

For now, Bixby is only available in Korean, and Samsung has not provided an updated timeline on when the platform may launch in the U.S. and elsewhere. This despite the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S8, which launched all the way back in April, has a dedicated physical Bixby button that is essentially useless for customers outside of Korea.


Apple's HomePod is scheduled to ship in December.


Those issues are said to have hampered development of the "Vega" speaker project, which sources told the Journal could ultimately be scrapped, just like a previous internal effort at a smart speaker dubbed "Hive." Still, with Apple entering in the space and Amazon gaining traction, sources indicated that Samsung is expected to press forward with the initiative.

The report suggested Samsung's product could be more akin to an Amazon Echo, which prioritizes voice controls over sound quality. Apple, on the other hand, has taken a different approach, pitching the HomePod as a premium music accessory with superior quality sound that just so happens to also include Siri.

Set to begin shipping this December, Apple's HomePod will feature an A8 chip and boast realtime acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, and multi-channel echo cancelation. It will be 7 inches tall, with 7 tweeters and a dynamic modeling subwoofer enclosed under a 3D mesh acoustic fabric.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Herbivore2Herbivore2 Posts: 362member
    Samsung's Harman Kardon unit is building a unit prioritizing acoustics. It is the Invoke but will apparently run Cortana although Samsung could eventually bring Bixby to the unit. 

    Samsung will work out the hiccups with Bixby. They are a very capable company. They just passed Intel in chip sales. They are on a roll with respect to NAND and OLED technologies. Bixby is software and software is easier to build than cutting edge hardware components. 

    My Korean friends are quite enamored with Bixby. If Samsung duplicates that experience in English, and they very likely will, given their dedication and focus, it will be a game changer as it is integrated into the Samsung's flagship phones. Much like Siri is in the iPhone. 

    The HomePod is interesting and I will very likely purchase one. However, I very much like my Samsung Gear S3 with LTE. If Samsung continues to build hardware like this, they are a real force to be reckoned with. 

    Samsung and Apple are outstanding companies. They will be competitors, but together they will dominate mobile computing. Google is slowly losing android as a dominant platform as they have no answer to the hardware Samsung is planning. Microsoft is incapable and the Chinese manufacturers aren't even in the game anymore. They will be relegated to the lowest end of the market with limited memory, LCD panels, poor performance and poor battery life devices. That is the realm that Android is going to play in. Even Samsung's low end Tizen phones will have better capabilities. 
    SoliSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 31
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Wait, Samsung has their own Siri? And they chose that name for it? Of all the names, that's what they chose. It's like they're a parody of theft at this point. Or, rather, just a parody of Apple itself. Jeeves, Reginald, Carmichael, Alfred, Oxley, Cavendish, Wadsworth… Plenty of great butler names left for the taking.
    watto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,293member


    Samsung and Apple are outstanding companies... Google is slowly losing android...  They will be relegated to the lowest end of the market with limited memory, LCD panels, poor performance and poor battery life devices. That is the realm that Android is going to play in. Even Samsung's low end Tizen phones will have better capabilities. 
    Google again in yet another thread that had nothing to do with them? But FWIW it wasn't until recently that I realized you were such a huge Samsung fan, consistently praising their hardware, watches, speakers, and other stuff. I had mistakenly thought you were a huge Apple fan who didn't particularly care for Samsung copyist tendencies. 
    mejsricwatto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 31

    Samsung's voice control platform, Bixby, apparently doesn't understand English very well

    *Engrish

    edited July 2017 macky the mackywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,812member
    Wait, Samsung has their own Siri? And they chose that name for it? Of all the names, that's what they chose. It's like they're a parody of theft at this point. Or, rather, just a parody of Apple itself. Jeeves, Reginald, Carmichael, Alfred, Oxley, Cavendish, Wadsworth… Plenty of great butler names left for the taking.
    Jarvis
    edited July 2017 tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,812member
    Wait. What? Samsung is ‘scrambling’? Aren’t they always the first and best with everything? I thought it was Apple who is always scrambling, and behind, and struggling, and in a precarious position, and teetering on failure. What am I missing here?
    watto_cobrarazorpitlamboaudi4
  • Reply 7 of 31
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,525member
    I wonder how Samsung intend to position & market it?  

    Apple has chosen to focus on music & audio quality first, which makes perfect sense given their Apple Music & iTunes services - with the "smart" bits being positioned in support of that (no doubt it will do many smart things that grows over time, but they aren't positioning it that way initially).  Apple doesn't call it a "smart speaker" or a "Siri speaker' - it is the HomePod - like AirPods but for your home.

    Amazon and Google are going after the lower end "smart speaker" market, focusing mostly on its assistant capabilities.

    The overall market for these devices is still in the very early days (maybe 5+ million units / year), so Samsung is not necessarily late, though it is hard to see how they will differentiate against Apple, and Amazon / Google.
    watto_cobraKawhiUCONNjbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 31
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    They will make great strides once Apple's hits the market.
    SoliSpamSandwich
  • Reply 10 of 31
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,025member
    gatorguy said:


    Samsung and Apple are outstanding companies... Google is slowly losing android...  They will be relegated to the lowest end of the market with limited memory, LCD panels, poor performance and poor battery life devices. That is the realm that Android is going to play in. Even Samsung's low end Tizen phones will have better capabilities. 
    Google again in yet another thread that had nothing to do with them? But FWIW it wasn't until recently that I realized you were such a huge Samsung fan, consistently praising their hardware, watches, speakers, and other stuff. I had mistakenly thought you were a huge Apple fan who didn't particularly care for Samsung copyist tendencies. 

    You must have Google Assistant working to scan AI articles for any mention of Google, and to take you automatically to the offending post already quoted for you to add your 2 cents.
    williamlondonwatto_cobralkruppStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 31
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,025member
    Considering Bixby is actually Viv (who Samsung acquired) I don't buy their excuses for having trouble with English. There's something else going on. 

    Viv is an American company based in San Jose. And I'm pretty sure all the demos they showed over a year ago were in, wait for it, English.
    cmka~+watto_cobracornchipRayz2016SpamSandwichStrangeDaysrazorpit
  • Reply 12 of 31
    jaaycojaayco Posts: 46member
    I think after all is said and done in this post-fact world, Apple will stay on top longer than it has a right to because it is always held to a higher standard. Samsung put a dedicated button that does nothing on a phone no faster than last year's iPhone and it can still be claimed by some people to be the best in the world... the best ever. Just imagine what they will think when all the buttons work... oh wait, that might require a software update. Let's hope they sort it soon enough for the phone to not be obsolete and impossible to upgrade. 
    watto_cobraradarthekatlkrupp
  • Reply 13 of 31
    cmka~+cmka~+ Posts: 31member
    This article makes it sound like Siri (not to mention Apple Pay, the original iPhone itself, and numerous other Apple products) weren't launched in apple's own home domestic market first. Granted, more people around the world speak English than Korean, and at this point voice recognition tech should be beyond such rudimentary growing pains, but the tone of the article seems to suggest that if it doesn't serve the American market first and foremost it's intrinsically a failure. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,293member
    gatorguy said:


    Samsung and Apple are outstanding companies... Google is slowly losing android...  They will be relegated to the lowest end of the market with limited memory, LCD panels, poor performance and poor battery life devices. That is the realm that Android is going to play in. Even Samsung's low end Tizen phones will have better capabilities. 
    Google again in yet another thread that had nothing to do with them? But FWIW it wasn't until recently that I realized you were such a huge Samsung fan, consistently praising their hardware, watches, speakers, and other stuff. I had mistakenly thought you were a huge Apple fan who didn't particularly care for Samsung copyist tendencies. 
    You must have Google Assistant working to scan AI articles for any mention of Google, and to take you automatically to the offending post already quoted for you to add your 2 cents.
    LOL! Of course you'd complain about just the type of reply you and other would have made instead of the OP's post. Hater gotta hate eh?  Stay consistent my friend. 
    edited July 2017 brucemc
  • Reply 15 of 31
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,829member
    A HomePod competitor or an Alexa/Google Home competitor?
  • Reply 16 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,690member
    A HomePod competitor or an Alexa/Google Home competitor?
    The whole market segment, I'd say.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,252member
    lkrupp said:
    Wait. What? Samsung is ‘scrambling’? Aren’t they always the first and best with everything? I thought it was Apple who is always scrambling, and behind, and struggling, and in a precarious position, and teetering on failure. What am I missing here?
    Doomed.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    They are a very capable company. 
    What are they capable of - that is a question...
    Last time they were so capable, they inflicted damages worth 5B dollars to themselves and managed to put their line of products to the FAA no fly list...
    edited July 2017 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 19 of 31
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,046member
    lkrupp said:
    Wait. What? Samsung is ‘scrambling’? Aren’t they always the first and best with everything? I thought it was Apple who is always scrambling, and behind, and struggling, and in a precarious position, and teetering on failure. What am I missing here?
    Obligatory

    Apple is Doomed

    Post.
    Honestly, when Apple decide to do something really seriously then it usually ends up as a game changer. It is when they just dabble that things are a bit shaky. For example, the Apple TV. They could have made it so much better but I get the feeling that they chickened out as they didn't want to offend Hollywood any more that they already do.
    From what I have seen, the VrKit is very, very good and a big step up from what the competition is currently offering. One has to hope that they don't let it fester and die as they seem to do all too often (like Siri....)
    Apple might not always be first with the particular bit of technology but when they do it, it is usually done very well but they have to keep developing it. From where I sit, this is a big problem.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,226member
    Wait, Samsung has their own Siri? And they chose that name for it? Of all the names, that's what they chose. It's like they're a parody of theft at this point. Or, rather, just a parody of Apple itself. Jeeves, Reginald, Carmichael, Alfred, Oxley, Cavendish, Wadsworth… Plenty of great butler names left for the taking.

    Leave it to Psmith! Or Cadbury, the perfect butler!
    edited July 2017 tallest skil
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