A new report claims Samsung is looking to release its upcoming smart speaker in the first half of 2018. The South Korean company has made no secret of its plans to launch an Amazon Echo-rivaling speaker, originally confirming the plans back in August. However, despite this, Samsung made no mention of any possible time frame. Now, though, people familiar with the matter have stated that the new speaker should arrive in the first six months of 2018.
The new smart speaker is expected to utilize the technology that Samsung acquired through its purchase of Harman at the beginning of the year, with much of the focus being on audio quality, while Harman Kardon branding is likely to be present in order to further emphasize this. Samsung's Bixby virtual assistant is also expected to take center stage, allowing owners of the speaker to control various smart appliances, as well as the speaker itself, through a series of voice commands. In addition, the speaker will likely support connectivity with a number of Samsung's other products, allowing it to synchronize with them. Design wise, matte black looks to be the most likely color for the speaker, with the overall size expected to sit somewhere between Amazon's Echo and Apple's HomePod. Not only this, but Samsung is expected to stay away from a touchscreen, and will instead opt for a light up area on the top that provides visual feedback, though it's reported that the South Korean company was originally considering a touchscreen alternative that could compete with Amazon's Echo Show. In terms of pricing, Samsung is likely to go for a number near the $200 mark, which would place the speaker in between both Amazon and Apple's products, and below Google's Home Max. Also a possibility is bundle offers with Samsung's flagship devices, something that could entice more customers to purchase Galaxy smartphones while getting the company's smart speaker into a higher number of homes.
Despite all of the possibilities, the South Korean giant will certainly face tough competition once its product launches. After all, the smart speaker market is currently dominated by Amazon, and with a number of other brands launching their own products in the near future, the market will only get more saturated over time. But with the market value set to reach a total of $3.5 billion by 2021, Samsung's marketing know-how and strong presence in other consumer product sectors could lead to a significant revenue stream in the long run.