Unfortunately for those who were expecting a Bixby-powered smart speaker any time soon to replace their Amazon Echo and Google Home, the latest reports claim that Samsung has seemingly abandoned the project.
Samsung is, for now, shelving its smart speaker project which was supposed to come with its new AI assistant Bixby. It was only a couple days ago, that Samsung was able to finally launch the English language for Bixby in the US after months of delay. Even other English-speaking countries have yet to receive it. However, confirmation that Samsung is going to leave its project for the time being, comes from The Korea Herald, citing that Samsung does not look at the smart speaker space as being marketable currently. This makes sense, since Amazon currently dominates the smart speaker space by and large, making it difficult for newer entrants to make profits.
The Amazon Echo currently enjoys 70 percent of the market share in the smart speaker space. It has been speculated that Samsung will be waiting for the smart speaker space to expand and then jump in when the time is right. Samsung already has the research, the AI and the hardware, owing to its tie-up with Harman, making it a good proposition for consideration. Samsung is right now working on polishing its Bixby AI which has been subject to criticism over delays in support, especially in English-speaking countries. The company will be adding the AI assistant to its Family Hub 2.0 smart fridge, which means that Samsung is still supportive of the idea of making its AI functional across smart products.
The speaker was earlier dubbed ‘Vega’ internally and was expected to surface any time in the coming months. But despite the heavy competition present in the market space, that has not stopped other companies from entering, with Cortana to also be coming out with its own smart speaker and the upcoming speaker from Apple which will be powered by Siri. Recently, even Lenovo showcased a unique concept that was a speaker-projector that not only ran on its own AI, but also was able to project images and video to users. The smart speaker market is expected to grow to $13 billion by 2024 and while Amazon already has the lead, what could turn the tables in the competition would be the addition of newer features and applications as seen in Lenovo’s smart speaker-projector. Until then, Samsung will be playing the waiting game.