We haven't seen the Galaxy home yet – and that's good

Twice a year, Samsung holds the Galaxy Unpacked launch event. Twice a year, one wonders: will Samsung finally announce the mysterious Bixby, Galaxy Home and Galaxy Home Mini speakers? And twice a year, the company announces phones, accessories and partnerships – without a Bixby speaker.
Where, where, is the home of the Galaxy? We have been waiting for this cauldron-shaped device since Samsung announced the August 2018 event. (This may not seem like long ago, but for the environment, the Note 9 also launched at that event.) Samsung promised the device April 2019, then pushed "the first half of 2019", then Q3 of 2019. Galaxy Home Subsequently, the Mini appeared as a public beta in late August 2019, amid rumors of a February 12, 2020 release Spoiler alert: this didn't take place either.
But we know that Galaxy Home speakers exist in some form. For one, I've seen Mini himself. It was installed in a remote corner of Samsung's SmartThings suite at CES in January, though Samsung representatives won't let me try it. Some photos and videos of the device in action were also featured online last weekend. And Samsung has made the product available – not for buy, but as a promotional add-on to the Galaxy S20 specifications in South Korea.
TL: DR: Samsung clearly has working speakers. So what is sucker?
For registration, we have repeatedly questioned Samsung this question in recent days and have not received an answer. But just a brief look at the current smart home landscape to see why it's not a excellent time to start a Bixby speaker.
Where, where, is the home of the Galaxy?
The market for smart speakers is full. Amazon and Google turn off new Alexa and Google Assistant devices every year at launch events, and their speakers are getting better and better without falling prices. Third-party manufacturers are also finding accomplishment: Sonos makes the most premium Alexa and Google Assistant speakers on the market, and Lenovo makes brilliant Smart Assistant-supported screens. Alexa is found in all kinds of portable items now, from rings to Fitbits, and Google is on every Android phone.
Meanwhile, Alexa and Google Assistant are looking better than ever. Amazon has spent the last two years at zero in on corporal conversation – from features like the Follow-up feature, which lets you chat without using the word wake, in Whisper Mode, which enables the assistant to answer to whispers in their own low voice. There are currently over 100,000 third-party Alexa skills. And Google Assistant can now turn between languages ​​in real time and use machine learning to adjust alarms to the weather.
This means that to become a splendid player in today's landscape, a voice assistant cannot simply be functional. must be brilliant. And Bixby is … well, not that.
While I'm sure there are stans out there, I've never met anyone who really enjoys using the Samsung Assistant voice. It was lost as a feature of the Galaxy S8, but users were so miserable with its dedicated button (former Verge author Vlad Savov abused it as "structural bloatware") that Samsung eventually gave them a way to restore it by releasing it. S10 (and completely removed from S20 models). It's not that Bixby was particularly terrible. it's just that Google Assistant can do what Bixby can do – but better. The company has also not mentioned Bixby in any of its last two Unpacked keynotes, nor has it been the focus of CES 2020 events.
This means that a Bixby speaker will probably try to profit from brand trust – that is, to attract customers who are particularly attentive to Galaxy phones or the SmartThings ecosystem promising better integration.
Alexa and Google Assistant look better than ever
But, this approach, coupled with a secondary voice assistant, has not worked particularly well in the past. Since last August, Apple's HomePod has had an impressive 5% share in the US smart speaker market. This was even with the signal being far better than any other speaker in its price range and even with its smooth operation with the Apple ecosystem. Siri was not excellent enough to justify the price. (He couldn't search for recipes, call or set up two timers at a time.) Since then there has been no other Siri speaker.
Also, remember Harman Kardon's Cortana speaker? It didn't sell either.
In addition to competition, the market for smart speakers is tighter. While the number of user speakers is expected to increase in the coming years, analysts predict growth will slow. After all, smart speaker owners don't tend to upgrade to the way they do laptops and smartphones. (When's the last time you upgraded the speaker?) And switching an entire home to a new smart home platform is a larger hassle since switching from Android to iOS. This is one of the reasons why Google and Amazon are not constantly updating flagship speakers: Amazon has rolled out new generations of Echo approximately every other year, while Google has not upgraded Google Home, which was launched in 2016.
There's no room in the market for a dull speaker with a terrible voice assistant. Samsung's name and Samsung's ecosystem won't cut it. It's not enough for Bixby to be functional. Samsung wants to make the speaker stand out. It wants to develop features for Bixby, which Alexa and Google Assistant cannot offer, and it wants to push developers to make the skills people want. It wants to get partners on board so it can integrate with the hundreds of smart home brands that people use. It has to make Bixby really smart. It has to do something extraordinary. There is no advantage to Samsung releasing a Bixby speaker before just getting Bixby.
There's no room for a dull speaker with a terrible voice assistant
I'm not convinced that Samsung can do that. The company has no track record of brilliant speakers and the fact that it did not bring up Bixby in any recent launch event indicates that it is moving away from Bixby as a trademark. And if Bixby doesn't get better, the company should pull the plug on Galaxy Homes.
But if Samsung can somehow come up with a product that can not only meet the wants of Google and Amazon, but surpass their innovation years to some extent, that would be a valuable product. And wait. The company is already too late for the smart speaker game. can afford a small shortly.

Updated: February 14, 2020 — 3:57 pm

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