Samsung's Bixby-Powered HomePod Rival Launching In First Half Of 2018

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It will sync up with Samsung gadgets, TVs and Galaxy smartphones. The report also says it'll be priced at around the $200 mark which, while competitive when compared to the Home Max and HomePod, is a lot more expensive than the Google Home ($129) and Amazon Echo ($99). Initially, Samsung had thought of including a screen in its smart speaker.

Samsung plans to launch a smart speaker to rival Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others, in the first half of 2018, according to Bloomberg. Samsung declined to comment. Amazon's flagship Echo speaker has a list price of $100, while Apple's HomePod, which also has a sound quality focus, will cost $349 when it also goes on sale next year. Bloomberg also reports that the device now needs more work on voice-based web searches. The HomePod will be a hub for Apple to lock in users to its HomeKit smart home platform and will likely help the company increase subscriptions to its own music service. Since then, the combination of a speaker and a virtual assistant has become such a big hit that nearly every major consumer tech company has developed a smart speaker of its own.

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According to Gartner, voice-activated speakers will become a $3.5 billion market by 2021, up from $720 million in 2016.

The device will reportedly be released in multiple markets, possibly including the U.S. as well. The device is also expected to rely heavily on being able to regulate in-home automation systems, including SmartThings, which it bought back in 2014.

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Many aspects of the Samsung speaker will remain a mystery for the time being, but in terms of its design, a source claims that a prototype now in testing is "between the size of Amazon's latest Echo and the HomePod". While the prototype is coated in a Matte Black color, the actual product may be launched in various colors.

While Amazon and Google has been in the smart speaker market for sometime now, it is good to see Samsung finally joining the bandwagon.

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