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Galaxy Home is Samsung’s smart speaker powered by Bixby

IA - TIME

Samsung’s Galaxy Note9 may be the most leaked device of 2018. The stunning onstage presentation at Unpacked had a somewhat muted impact, no thanks to the wealth of information about the Note9 already out there in the open. Unfazed, Samsung did pull several rabbits out of the hat. One of which was the Galaxy Home, a smart speaker with Bixby built-in.

I know, the smart speaker space is already a crowded one – dominated by the millions of Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod devices. Is Samsung barking up the wrong tree then?

Maybe not.

You see, Samsung is a giant. It’s a giant in the smartphone segment. It’s a leader in consumer electronics. It’s huge in display panels. It’s a big player in mobile chipsets. It’s got Bixby. It’s got Knox. It’s got a payment system. It’s got some incredible partners.

It’s got artificial intelligence (the company is pouring billions into AI). It’s got millions of connected devices.

It’s got everything. It’s got an ecosystem. Bigger than most of us can imagine.

So, a connected smart speaker powered by Bixby? A tiny speck in Samsung’s connected universe.

Now does it make sense to you?

Galaxy Home goes down the same route as Apple’s HomePod. It combines “amazing sound and elegant design.”

It looks a little awkward to be honest – like an orb with a quarter of the top chopped off, wrapped in fabric and held up by three metal legs. The flat top houses control buttons for skipping music and changing volume.

Remember Samsung’s omni-directional R series 360 wireless speakers? A little like that, just 10 times more challenged aesthetically.

Love it or hate it looks aside, the Galaxy Home supposedly delivers top quality surround sound with its six built-in AKG speakers and subwoofer tuned by Harman. It includes eight far-field microphones for voice input. So, you’ll be able to say “Hi, Bixby” from across the room, and the digital assistant would come to life.

During the product presentation at Unpacked, there was an entire orchestra of 160 Galaxy Home devices connected to play music.

The speaker can supposedly do the same things Bixby can do on your Galaxy smartphone. Bixby, in its current form, isn’t quite as smart as Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s still early days for the young upstart though, so it can only get better with more connected services and improved machine learning.

Samsung did demonstrate a new Bixby 2.0, much more conversational and personal, and it did seem to be better.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many details that were revealed during the launch. Needless to say, you can’t buy one because it’s not available just yet.

Samsung said it will be sharing more at its developer conference in early November.

For everything Galaxy Note9, head over to this page.

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IA - TIME

By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of Vernonchan.com. A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.