Looking to buy a smart home speaker? Well, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
There’s Echo from Amazon, Home from Google and HomePod from Apple (you can see our comparison of the top smart home speakers here).
You can also get almost the full Alexa experience in the new Sonos One speaker as well as various other smart devices including the Ecobee4 smart thermostat.
In addition to Google Home speakers, you can also get Google Assistant in the Lenovo Smart Display as well as the JBL Link 20 portable speaker and a smattering of other devices.
And now yet another smart speaker is poised to join the scene. Samsung is planning a smart home speaker of its own which will be called Galaxy Home.
The company made the announcement at their 2018 Unpacked conference. But the announcement was scarce on details.
But we know that Galaxy Home will be equipped with Bixby, Samsung’s smart assistant.
This will put the speaker directly in competition with the other main players namely Echo, Google Home and HomePod.
A Focus on Sound Quality
Galaxy Home will especially compete against against Apple’s HomePod smart home speaker.
Samsung is taking the same approach Apple did: do the best they can with their less-smart (compared to Google Assistant and Alexa) smart assistants but go all out in terms of sound quality.
The Apple HomePod is currently the best sounding smart speaker in the market. Samsung is looking to steal that prize.
According to reports, the Galaxy Home will use 6 built-in speakers plus a subwoofer to deliver an exceptional surround-sound experience.
The Galaxy Home will have eight microphones with far-field voice recognition. The speaker will be able to detect the location of your voice and direct audio towards you for a better listening experience.
But it will going up against a pretty smart sound system in the Apple HomePod which uses intelligent audio optimization algorithms.
They’ll also have to outdo or at least be on par with the Sonos One, which is essentially a better-sounding Amazon Echo.
From early reports, it seems that the Samsung has put a lot towards creating a great sounding smart home speaker. It could be a real threat to HomePod.
But whether that will be enough to overcome what many people perceive to be a less-capable smart assistant is another question.
Samsung has been doing a lot of work to bring its AI prowess up to par but Bixby still falls short when compared to other assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant.
Customers are already used to the convenience and helpfulness of Google Home and Amazon Echo. They are easy to use, have integrations with numerous third party services and can easily understand most voice commands.
If Bixby cannot provide the same level of utility or something close, it remains to be seen whether simply having great sound quality is enough to convince people to buy it.
To be honest, smart speakers look boring. They all have the same dull cylindrical form including Apple HomePod, from which I expected a much more interesting design.
The Galaxy Home is, well…interesting.
It looks like a vase or cauldron set atop three metal legs. I wouldn’t exactly call it elegant but at least it’s different.
Like most smart speakers, it has several buttons on the flat top for music control and volume.
Pricing and Availability
Samsung didn’t divulge much about the Galaxy Home speaker but said it will reveal more in a November developer conference.
So we have no idea when it will hit the market or how much they will price it at.
But there are good chances it launches in time for holiday sales. As for the price, it will most likely top Echo and Google Home but fall below the somewhat pricey Apple HomePod.