Samsung's Internet of Things (IoT) speaker powered by its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Bixby has been in development for over a year now, people with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday, adding that the project is internally referred to as "Vega." Reports of the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer developing a competitor to Amazon's Echo and Google Home have been circulating the industry for months now, but Samsung is said to still be somewhat away from commercializing the device. It's currently unclear which markets is the company planning to target with Vega; the United States seems like an obvious choice given the rising adoption rates of IoT solutions in the country, though the stateside smart speaker market is currently dominated by Amazon, with the Seattle, Washington-based tech giant holding approximately 70 percent of it, many industry analysts claim.
Another major electronics company looking to get into the market for Internet-enabled speakers is Microsoft, with the firm developing a Cortana-powered speaker called Invoke alongside Harman International Industries, Samsung's recently acquired subsidiary. Between the Invoke, Google Home, and Amazon Echo, some industry watchers are skeptical about Samsung's medium term prospects in this emerging segment, though the Seoul-based conglomerate likely isn't expecting monetary gains from this industry for the foreseeable future; smart speakers are still oriented at supporting big data analysis and providing their creators with insights that are meant to complement their other endeavors, thus allowing them to profile their customers in a more efficient manner and offering them personalized products and services that they are more likely to purchase.
Samsung Electronics recently filed for a trademark on the term "Samsung Hello," with that particular application describing a robot-like device resembling a smart speaker that may hint at the company's future plans for voice recognition-enabled devices. It's currently unclear if Vega is directly connected to that trademark, though the firm's first IoT speaker with a digital assistant may not hit the market until next year, especially since the English version of Bixby is still in beta, with recent reports indicating that the companion is struggling to learn the nuances of the language. While the company is expected to initially debut the device in its home country, Samsung won't be able to ignore this market segment in the U.S. for long and an update on its efforts to commercialize new AI-powered solutions should follow shortly.