Samsung's Bixby-powered HomePod competitor to debut in first half of 2018, report says

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According to a report on Thursday, Samsung's smart home speaker is expected to debut in the first half of 2018 with support for the firm's Bixby virtual assistant, setting the device up for direct competition with Apple's delayed HomePod.


Apple's HomePod.


After industry rumblings earlier this year, Samsung in August confirmed intent to enter the smart home speaker fray with its own branded solution. At the time, mobile president D.J. Koh offered few details beyond comments that the device would arrive "soon."

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Samsung is working to release the voice-controlled speaker in the first half of 2018.

The company is said to be testing a prototype speaker that sits somewhere between Amazon's Echo and the HomePod. Final versions of the device could come in different colors, the report said. Like HomePod, Samsung's speaker does not include a touchscreen, but instead features a visual feedback system comprised of lights located on top of its chassis.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Samsung is said to be focusing on audio quality and methods of managing connected home appliances, including those supporting Samsung's SmartThings platform. Apple emphasized those same features when it announced HomePod this summer.

Announcing HomePod onstage at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller called it a "breakthrough home speaker," touting the product's superior audio fidelity and integrated HomeKit support.

Again mirroring current industry trends, Samsung is integrating its virtual assistant, Bixby, into its smart speaker offering. Amazon was first to popularize in-home assistants with Alexa-enabled Echo products, followed by Google and its line of Google Home gadgets. Apple is following suit by delivering Siri compatibility to HomePod users.

Samsung plans to make its as-yet-unnamed speaker available in multiple markets, potentially including the U.S. The unit could cost around $200, putting it well below HomePod's $349 price tag.

Apple was initially scheduled to release HomePod in December, but revised those plans in November. Without specifying a reason for the delay, the company pushed back the launch of its audio accessory into "early 2018."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    D.J. "Play" Doh needs to be fired for missing the crucial Christmas season.  Disasters like this never happened under his predecessor Steve.  Now that guy was a genius at copying Apple fast.
    Bacillus3Eric_in_CTwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Let me guess. It will be a cylinder covered in a fabric mesh with a screen on top. (Which Samesung and their fans will claim is an original design)
    StrangeDaysbrucemcwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Bobber99 said:
    Let me guess. It will be a cylinder covered in a fabric mesh with a screen on top. (Which Samesung and their fans will claim is an original design)
    Haha...exactly. Not to sound contrary, but I will never have a Google, Microsoft or Samsung product in my home! :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    It will be interesting to see of Samesung uses sound technology in this upcoming speaker from the Harmon International brands it bought last year. 
    1STnTENDERBITSwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    It will be interesting to see of Samesung uses sound technology in this upcoming speaker from the Harmon International brands it bought last year. 
    My like should really be a half-like.  I like the sentiment regarding  using Harmon tech.  Not really a fan of fanboi derogatory sobriquet.  Especially when it's inaccurate regarding the smart speaker.  Regardless, I think they are probably banking on that Harmon tech to make the speaker sound good.  
  • Reply 6 of 24
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,361member
    Bobber99 said:
    Let me guess. It will be a cylinder covered in a fabric mesh with a screen on top. (Which Samesung and their fans will claim is an original design)
    I thought there was a “sneak peak” of it that looked nothing HomePod. Maybe I’m thinking of something else?
  • Reply 7 of 24
    My prediction:

    Despite Samsung buying Harman International, and having access to IP from companies with a lot of experience in professional sound reinforcement (and extensive knowledge in things like beam forming and other processing techniques), that we won’t see anything but a conventional speaker with an assistant tacked in.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    Bobber99 said:
    Let me guess. It will be a cylinder covered in a fabric mesh with a screen on top. (Which Samesung and their fans will claim is an original design)
    Duh. Just as whyd.com shamelessly imitated Apple...in ADVANCE
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 9 of 24
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,767member
    Bixby powered.   Thanks for the laugh.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    One thing’s for sure. These competing products will not really be competitors to the HomePod. They will be targeted at a different audience, will be in different price categories, and will sound good enough but not superb. Apple, as usual, will market the HomePod toward the high end of the market. Apple will promote the HomePod as a superior audio player with great sound quality that has a digital assistant to help with selecting music. The Echo is primarily a digital assistant that can play music if asked to. Apples and oranges in my book. What the Samsung product will be is anybody’s guess but trying to be all things to all people rarely produces a superior product.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    robjnrobjn Posts: 218member
    This article states: Like HomePod, the Samsung’s speaker does not include a touch screen, but instead features a visual feedback system composed of lights located on top on it’s chassis.

    I think it is technically accurate to call it a “touch screen”.

    Consider:
    It is a low resolution display 272x340. So you say it ‘just has lights on top’ but there are no less than 92,480 LEDs. That’s a display albeit a rudimentary one.

    Plus it IS touch sensitive.

    From Apple’s website:
    Tap the top of HomePod to play, pause, or adjust the volume. The top also shows you when Siri is listening, with an LED waveform that animates with your every word.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,894member
    Bacillus3 said:
    Bobber99 said:
    Let me guess. It will be a cylinder covered in a fabric mesh with a screen on top. (Which Samesung and their fans will claim is an original design)
    Duh. Just as whyd.com shamelessly imitated Apple...in ADVANCE
    LOL. I just noticed (but others obviously already had) the HomePod's striking similarity to WHYD's smart-speaker shown a year earlier (August/2016 as a pseudo-Kickstarter project), even on the spec side.
    "The speaker uses four 40mm drivers to pump out sounds in 360-degrees...touch-sensitive button on top so you can control your music with gestures....Amazon Echo-like voice control... Five beam forming microphones... two speakers can be linked to make a stereo pair. You'll of course be able to pipe music to the Whyd speaker from a number of sources, including WiFi, Bluetooth, GoogleCast and AirPlay as well as streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Sound Cloud, Tidal and Google Play."

    Perhaps we can worry a bit less now about one company's product resembling another?
    https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/18/whyd-wireless-speakers/
    homepodvswhyd
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 13 of 24
    I see LG Prada meme from 10 years ago has been brought back. 

    “LOL iPhone looks so much like Prada so maybe we can worry less about Samsung blatant copying of iPhone now”.

    I-_-I_O_T.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 14 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,894member
    matrix077 said:
    I see LG Prada meme from 10 years ago has been brought back again. 

    “LOL iPhone looks so much like Prada so maybe we can worry less about Samsung blatant copying of iPhone now”.

    I-_-I_O_T.
    This particular product was widely reported on last year, so if Apple wasn't concerned about the similarities, and they most assuredly were aware of them, we shouldn't worry so much whether one product kinda/sorta looks like another either IMO. Form does sometimes need to follow function. :) When there's not real good reasons why THEN we can hang the copyist tag.

    360 degree speaker enclosures are of necessity going to have some similarities, correct? Make it a smart speaker and the enclosure design choices are even more limited. Google designing their Home product line as they did shows effort at avoiding mimickry but even there some exterior features will be familiar to other devices from other companies. 
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 15 of 24
    gatorguy said:
    matrix077 said:
    I see LG Prada meme from 10 years ago has been brought back again. 

    “LOL iPhone looks so much like Prada so maybe we can worry less about Samsung blatant copying of iPhone now”.

    I-_-I_O_T.
    This particular product was widely reported on last year, so if Apple wasn't concerned about the similarities, and they most assuredly were aware of them, we shouldn't worry so much whether one product kinda/sorta looks like another either IMO. Form does sometimes need to follow function. :) When there's not real good reasons why THEN we can hang the copyist tag.

    360 degree speaker enclosures are of necessity going to have some similarities, correct? Make it a smart speaker and the enclosure design choices are even more limited. Google designing their Home product line as they did shows effort at avoiding mimickry but even there some exterior features will be familiar to other devices from other companies. 
    If Whyd CEO think Apple copying their product, he can sue but from the article I have a feeling he was rather proud Apple’s gonna ship something resemble his. 
    This has nothing to do with Samsung who is a main competitor AND a blatant copier (Apple products & many other companies’) so yes, we can worry about Samsung copying Apple’s HomePod. It has nothing to do with each other.

    Disclaimer though, I don’t think this Samsung speakers will look anything like Apple’s. 
    edited December 2017 randominternetperson
  • Reply 16 of 24
    There have been countless cylindrical speakers over the last 50 years. I don’t think anyone can claim to be completely unique or imply someone else copied them.

    The HomePod looks like a Mac Pro. So it at least has that distinction.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,894member
    matrix077 said:
    gatorguy said:
    matrix077 said:
    I see LG Prada meme from 10 years ago has been brought back again. 

    “LOL iPhone looks so much like Prada so maybe we can worry less about Samsung blatant copying of iPhone now”.

    I-_-I_O_T.
    This particular product was widely reported on last year, so if Apple wasn't concerned about the similarities, and they most assuredly were aware of them, we shouldn't worry so much whether one product kinda/sorta looks like another either IMO. Form does sometimes need to follow function. :) When there's not real good reasons why THEN we can hang the copyist tag.

    360 degree speaker enclosures are of necessity going to have some similarities, correct? Make it a smart speaker and the enclosure design choices are even more limited. Google designing their Home product line as they did shows effort at avoiding mimickry but even there some exterior features will be familiar to other devices from other companies. 
    If Whyd CEO think Apple copying their product, he can sue but from the article I have a feeling he was rather proud Apple’s gonna actually shipping product that resemble his. 
    This has nothing to do with Samsung who is a competitor AND a blatant copier (Apple products & many other companies’) so yes, we can worry about Samsung copying Apple’s HomePod. It has noth8ng to do with each other.

    Disclaimer though, I don’t think this Samsung speakers will look anything like Apple’s. 
    I agree with you, tho I would expect some similarities if they opt for a 360 degree sound.

    And yes, Whyd's CEO is flattered that Apple found good reasons to create a speaker that so closely resembles theirs as it validates their own choices.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 18 of 24
    VRingVRing Posts: 108member
    Bobber99 said:
    Let me guess. It will be a cylinder covered in a fabric mesh with a screen on top. (Which Samesung and their fans will claim is an original design)
    Cylindrical speakers aren't exactly new or original in the first place. Samsung and Harmon both have a history of making omni directional cylindrical speakers. Don't pretend to be surprised if that's what you see.

    Old Samsung speaker design:


    Old Harmon speaker design:



    Of course, Bixby is dreadful, so unless they've made some major improvements there, I doubt it will be able to compete with Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Apple.

    edited December 2017
  • Reply 19 of 24
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    christopher126 said:

    Haha...exactly. Not to sound contrary, but I will never have a Google, Microsoft or Samsung product in my home! :)
    Especially a product that is able to listen to anything going on in your home. Sure, if an assistant was listening without your permission it would be discovered and exposed immediately by security experts, so probably not something to worry too much about, but still if you say "Hey Google" the device can listen to any other audio going on in the background while it is listening to your commands/requests. For example something like what program is playing on the TV. Just more info to add to your profile. Bottom line is if you are going get one go these HomePod - like devices, you really have to trust the company that is providing the service. Personally, at my age I'm more interested in downsizing and simplifying my life rather than complicating it with new gadgets.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,894member
    volcan said:
    christopher126 said:

    Haha...exactly. Not to sound contrary, but I will never have a Google, Microsoft or Samsung product in my home! :)
    Especially a product that is able to listen to anything going on in your home. Sure, if an assistant was listening without your permission it would be discovered and exposed immediately by security experts, so probably not something to worry too much about, but still if you say "Hey Google" the device can listen to any other audio going on in the background while it is listening to your commands/requests. For example something like what program is playing on the TV. Just more info to add to your profile. Bottom line is if you are going get one go these HomePod - like devices, you really have to trust the company that is providing the service. Personally, at my age I'm more interested in downsizing and simplifying my life rather than complicating it with new gadgets.
    Sounds almost a bit FUDical. Have you seen any evidence that Google or Amazon or Apple can listen to everything going on in your home, or is "listening" to and connecting your profile with every sound in the background when you make a request? Anything is possible of course but encouraging everyone to worry over "possible" but lacking any evidence for "probable" amounts to no more than fear-mongering doesn't it? Weighing the advantages of our Assistants to the known downsides and for me and millions of others the pluses come out on top. If that ever changes I'll reconsider as will others. 
    edited December 2017
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