Samsung appears to be hard at work creating a next-generation streaming TV or Android TV Box marketed as the Samsung M Box, based on a recent trademark filing from the company with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
No in-depth details are provided to coincide with the trademark but its classification does seem to give away its purpose. Filed under Goods and Services Class 9, the Samsung M Box is listed as pertaining to "Digital media players for televisions" as well as "digital signage." The latter type of device seems far less plausible but isn't entirely out of the question. Digital signage is a long-running industry at this point and it doesn't seem likely that Samsung would be trying to reinvent itself in that market.
The letter "M" in Samsung M Box, on the other hand, could easily stand in for 'media'. The set-top connected TV box industry isn't exactly new at this point either but the smart or connected segment of the market is still relatively untapped. That's especially true with regard to Android TV set-top boxes as consumers move away from traditional units toward cord-cutting solutions.
Building on past TV-connected media and Bixby
Although not a major participant in the Android TV set-top box segment of the market, Samsung's decision to connect electronics to monitors or displays isn't new. The Korean tech giant has a set-top box division but that has primarily focused efforts on digital signal conversion for HD digital over-the-air transmissions and traditional receivers.
Samsung has also repeatedly attempted to sell off its set-top box division in a bid to redirect funding toward more promising ventures. Its most recent attempt to get rid of the unit was in early 2018 but ultimately fell through. The new trademark seems to indicate that the company is relaunching those efforts and that it will likely launch in a new direction.
The company has also been connecting smartphones to displays since the launch of its DeX platform in early 2017 and has more recently started work on a wireless variant of that platform.
DeX is limited to the tech giant's own flagship smartphones but is hardly a simple accomplishment. In effect, it turns Samsung phones like the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy Note 9 into a full Android desktop when connected to a phone and a television or other display.
The newly trademarked M Box is not at all likely to actually be the above-mentioned new wireless DeX solution since a branding change doesn't make much sense. It certainly won't be a new traditional set-top box. But Samsung's experience in creating TV connected experiences does give the company a starting point for building a full Android set-top box. Instead, it will likely utilize work on past technologies to ensure a smoother experience for users and maybe even offer additional features based on those.
Another feature that will most likely appear in the Samsung M Box if and when it launches is the company's AI helper Bixby. Samsung previously revealed that all of its electronics would feature some form of interconnectivity and Bixby by 2020. That's just a year away and with consideration for the fact that Samsung only recently filed its patent for the M Box, it isn't unreasonable to assume the AI will play a central role in that device.
About that launch date
While it may be possible to surmise some aspects of the Samsung M Box thanks to past efforts in digital media and statements made by the company, none of that gets to the heart of the matter. Samsung M Box might be something entirely different from that speculation and there's no telling when or if it will launch.
The most likely candidate for M Box to make an appearance would seem to be at this year's big electronics events. Samsung did move its typical flagship event from MWC 2019 — running from February 25 to February 28 — to just before the mobile event on February 20. That will free its top-tier devices from the standard media frenzy surrounding the event. But that move would open up the way for showcasing new technologies in Barcelona at the end of February. If the new media device is meant to link up to a mobile device for added functionality or is in any way related to Android, it could make an appearance at that event.