Is Samsung Ready for a Bixby Smart Speaker?
At their August 9th event, Samsung may double down on their fumbling smart assistant Bixby; with rumors circulating that a dedicated smart speaker is on the way.
Developed by two of the original Siri co-founders at Viv Labs, Bixby is Samsung's way of ousting Google and Amazon from their sphere of influence. In theory, it was a great idea. Their SmartThings ecosystem is poised to connect everything from cars to TVs with the help of Bixby.
However, in practice, Bixby doesn't quite hit the mark. Much like Siri, Bixby has been struggling to not only keep pace technically, there is no consumer adoption. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the new speaker as a "bowled shape, with a legged bottom and lights at the top." It would be a great sounding speaker, capable of being smart. The subtle difference justifies the $300 price tag, although it definitely hurts its value prop. It will also serve as a SmartThings hub, but we can touch on that in a minute.
To my earlier point about lack of consumer adoption, that would make Samsung's Bixby speaker a smart idea. They desperately need a grassroots campaign to show the purpose of Bixby.
It is a similar play out of Apple's playbook - introduce an assistant on your smartphone and work backwards to control everything - although the dedicated Bixby button on their flagship Galaxy smartphones has been a sore spot since its introduction a few years ago. Either way, the thought process from Samsung is that their alleged smart speaker can show consumers how important it is in a home by controlling devices and being better than the rest.
Or it could show all the flaws in their digital assistant, the same way the HomePod exposed Siri as an underwhelming accessory to one of the best sound speakers on the market.
So, as it stands, the smart speaker market from the major consumer electronics contenders has three truths - Google has the best assistant, Alexa has the widest control adoption, and Apple has the best sound. Samsung shouldn't hang their hat on their new speaker being a SmartThings hub either as that adoption isn't quite mainstream either.
Much like Apple, Bixby is better at being a phone assistant. But what value does that bring to a smart speaker?
What We're Reading
- Google AI experiment compares poses to 80,000 images as you move - Engadget
- New MacBook Pro keyboards get torture tested, can still be ruined by a grain of sand - BGR
- Microsoft just hit a $10 billion milestone with its gaming business, and it's a huge sign for the future of the Xbox - Business Insider