It will be no surprise to anyone that last quarters Smart-Speaker sales were dominated by Google and Amazon. Whilst the Google Home (25% Market Share) is slowly chipping away at Alexa’s market dominance (67%) there is little else in the way of meaningful opposition … yet.
With 7.4 million devices being sold in Q3 of 2017 alone, the personal voice assistant market is a growing one and its pie that many tech giants are keen to have a piece of.
Set to join the race in early 2018 is the much delated Apple Home Pod along with a new device from Samsung.
A report from Bloomberg has revealed that the Korean tech giants plan to launch a Smart-Speaker device in the first quarter of next year powered by its voice assistant “Bixby” which debuted on their mobile handset the Galaxy S8.
For anyone who has previously used the charmingly named ‘Bixby’ before, the idea of a Smart-Speaker powered by its technology probably won’t get them too excited. To put it kindly, the reviews have been mixed. However, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this potential new competitor.
If Samsung is going to make an impact in this market they have a lot of catching up to do. Their Smart Speaker must do enough to convince people to ditch Amazon, Google or Apple in favour of a newer device.
Samsung is promising a focus on audio quality, something that has let Amazon’s Speakers down previously, but it’s “connectivity” that could be the real selling point for this new device. Samsung doesn’t just make phones and tablets they also build TV’s, fridges, washing machines and all manner of household goods. This will make it much simpler for them to integrate these devices into a voice-first home. Already Samsung phones link up effortlessly with Samsung Smart TV’s and voice-commands via your Smart-Speaker is the next, obvious step. Currently, devices like the Echo rely on third party “Skills” synchronising with other devices around the smart-home, for Samsung and the 160+ devices that make up their “SmartThings” network, it could all just work.
The futuristic scenario of effortlessly controlling an entire household of devices via a Smart Assistant on your phone would appear closer than before with Samsung in the race. Fridges that remind you when you are low on milk, TV’s that know when to record your favourite show, doors that lock and unlock for selected users are all easier to integrate if created by the same manufacturer.
It’s not just a point of difference for Samsung either. It’s a business model. Whereas Amazon use their Speakers to promote purchases from the Amazon Store and Google directs users to its lucrative search engine (and paid searches), Samsung can encourage users to buy its own products to assist frictionless Smart-Home integration.
We won’t know for sure what the device contains until early next year but even with its slow start, we can see it being a big contender in the Smart Speaker world.