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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Samsung Galaxy Home: Bixby Speaker Release Date, Price & Specs

First we had the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo, then Google Home with the Google Assistant. Now a number of big-name brands are getting in on the smart-speaker act, including Panasonic, Sony, Sonos and Apple (with its upcoming HomePod).

Given its efforts to create its own voice assistant that is built into its flagship smartphones, one well-known brand stands out here as being more notably absent than most: Samsung.

Until now that is. Alongside the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch, Samsung revealed the Samsung Galaxy Home, a Bixby smart speaker that aims to bring the company's virtual assistant into your living room.

When is the Galaxy Home release date?
While Samsung announced the Galaxy Home in August 2018, it didn't include any details about the smart speaker's release date. However, it's long been rumoured that the speaker would release in the second half of 2018, so we expect you'll be able to buy one before Christmas.

During the reveal, Samsung announced that we'll find out more details during the Samsung Developer conference, which takes place on 7-8 November 2018, so we're predicting the speaker will release later that month.

How much will the Galaxy Home cost in the UK?
This is another detail that Samsung didn't reveal during the initial announcement. We think Samsung is likely to position its smart speaker closer to the £319/$349 Apple HomePod than it is the significantly cheaper Google Home (£129/$129) and Amazon Echo (£89/$99).

However, Bloomberg suggests Samsung will look to undercut Apple by around £100, which means we should be looking at an RRP of around £219/$249, while the WSJ reports the price will be $300.

What are the features and specifications?
From what we've seen, the Galaxy Home features similar specs to other rival smart speakers, but stands out in part thanks to its unusual design: a rounded black speaker with a flat top standing on tripod legs. We don't know yet if Samsung plans to release any additional colour options.

The audio chops come from Harman's AKG audio, with six speakers to drive 360-degree sound and a subwoofer for "deep, rich bass," with sound processing software to imitate surround sound. Like the HomePod, it's also capable of analysing the room its in and optimising its sound to suit the environment, or even aiming the sound at a specific spot so that it sounds best from exactly where you're sitting through a feature called SoundSteer.

Naturally, the Bixby virtual assistant is built in and can be activated by voice, with eight microphones driving far-field voice recognition. The speaker can also serve as a smart device hub, controlling all of the other connected tech within your household.

We don't know any more specific specs than that yet though, and will have to wait until November's Samsung Developer Conference to find out more.

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