First we had Amazon Echo, then Google Home, then Apple HomePod. Smart speakers, it seems, along with VR/AR, are the next big thing. But then this should come as no surprise, as most high-up tech bods have been banging on about AI and connected homes for yonks now. Anyway, Samsung, it seems, is poised to join the fray with its own smart speaker powered by the firm's Bixby AI assistant; the one which debuted aboard the recent Galaxy S8 series of smartphones.
The word comes via the Wall Street Journal, which claims the project has been under development for a year already, so this is no flash-in-the-pan reactionary tactic on Samsung's part, and that also means it won't take forever to come to market. Internally, it's referred to as "Vega", like the masked character from Street Fighter, but whether that name will adorn the final product, or whether it'll more prominently incorporate the Bixby name first and foremost, remains to be seen.
Apparently, a big question mark remains over a possible release in no small part due to the fact that the full English-language rollout of Bixby - for its Galaxy S8 phones - has been delayed. Current Galaxy S8 owners in some regions can use Bixby, but with very limited functionality, and notably an absence of voice control functionality. Of course this is crucial to a smart speaker device as it won't have manual input or a touchscreen, at least not as a primary control.
The WSJ's information estimates that as many as 36 million people in the US alone will use smart speakers inside 2017, showing that it's a key growth market for major firms to latch onto.