Samsung is rumored to be making its own smart speaker that will be powered by the Bixby smart assistant. However, it looks like the South Korean company has doubts on the marketability of such a device. "Samsung currently does not view Al speakers as marketable, as the global market is already dominated by unbeatable Amazon and the Korean market is too small to make profits," an anonymous source told The Korea Herald. "More importantly, Samsung cannot afford to focus on the uncertain market, as most of its AI specialists -- whose number is much less than that of the US tech giants -- are currently going all out to develop the Bixby version in English." Samsung might simply be taking a "wait-and-see attitude" towards its ambitions for a smart speaker, mobile industry specialist and researcher Kim Jong-ki suggested.
A new report claims that Samsung is working on a smart speaker that would directly compete with Google Home and Amazon's Echo devices. Samsung's speaker will be powered by Bixby, the digital assistant that was first introduced on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. The new report on Samsung's rumored smart connected speaker was made The Korea Herald. The news site said that Samsung has already been granted design patents for the new standalone speaker device, and that it will most likely be powered by the company's own Bixby assistant. The report is quite accurate as IBT reported last month that Samsung was indeed granted two patents: one for a Note-branded smartphone, and another that's only called as an "Audio Device."
Samsung's Bixby digital assistant hasn't been received well by Galaxy S8, S8 and Note 8 users. And now Samsung is reportedly replacing the head of the Bixby team and might even launch a new version of the assistant next week. Samsung's Rhee In-jong is being replaced as the head of development of the Bixby digital voice assistant by Chung Eui-seok, the head of service intelligence at the company's South Korean headquarters, according to The Investor. The Chung's service group is in charge of developing Bixby and other services related to artificial intelligence. Chung worked for Ericsson before joining Samsung in 2011 and is credited for being the software specialist behind Samsung's security program Knox and Samsung Pay.
Samsung has launched a preview program for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 owners who want to try out Bixby Voice ahead of its official release in the U.S. At the same time, some updates for Bixby have been rolled out, suggesting that the company's voice assistant could soon be fully functional in the country. On Wednesday, Samsung opened the preview program to allow select Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 users to test out the Bixby Voice command features. Only those who signed up for the program will get the chance to do this. The rollout of this beta will last for a few days, so don't be worried if you had signed up and still haven't received the notification for the update. Android Authority says that consumers who have signed up for the preview should update all of their Samsung-branded apps to their latest versions in the Galaxy App store before testing the voice command features.
It took longer than Samsung likely expected for the full version of its Bixby virtual assistant to reach customers, but Galaxy S8 users can now get some more use out of their smartphone. Samsung confirmed Wednesday that voice support will roll out to U.S. Galaxy S8 smartphones. The Galaxy S8 had launched earlier this year with a basic version of Bixby that only had minimal features, because of difficulties the assistant had with understanding English. Here's what you can now expect to see from Samsung's Bixby: Samsung has positioned Bixby as an alternative to competitors like Apple's Siri and Google Assistant thanks to its own voice control options. For Samsung, it likely hopes that Bixby-specific features help the assistant stand out from the pack.