Samsung Gear S3 successor launching next week, company confirms working on smart speaker

By Karthekayan Iyer | Published on 24 Aug 2017

Samsung will announce a new smartwatch next week at IFA in Berlin. The South Korean electronics maker also confirmed working on a smart speaker with Bixby voice assistant.

Samsung Gear S3 successor launching next week, company confirms working on smart speaker

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Samsung is planning to introduce its own smart speaker to take on Amazon, Apple and Google. At the launch of Galaxy Note 8, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh confirmed that the company is working on a Bixby-based speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo, Google Home and Apple's forthcoming HomePod smart speaker.

"Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it," Koh told CNBC in an interview. With the smart speaker, Samsung plans to put Bixby at the center of user experience but Koh didn't share further details about the product. He added that the smart speaker will fit into company's smart home device segment and use Bixby Home feature already available on Galaxy S8 series and Galaxy Note 8.

Samsung debuted Bixby alongside the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in March this year as an assistant that can replace every touch-based action with voice. However, the company faced issues rolling out the voice feature when the smartphone went on sale in April. Samsung finally started rolling out Bixby voice feature to US users in June and the assistant became available globally a few days back.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Samsung is working on a Bixby-powered smart speaker codenamed 'Vega'. The report added that slow roll out of Bixby voice feature was causing a delay in the progress of company's smart speaker.  Amazon is currently the leader in connected speaker segment but it has seen new competition from Apple and Google. With Bixby now available globally, Samsung could be a serious competitor to Amazon as well as Apple and Google.

Koh also confirmed that the company will debut new Gear series smartwatch at IFA in Berlin next week. The successor to Gear S3 will come ahead of Apple Watch Series 3 launch next month. The new smartwatch will be more fitness focussed and will record more vitals signs that previous models.

Karthekayan Iyer

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