Samsung’s new Galaxy smart speaker wants you to bring Bixby Home

Samsung's Galaxy Home uses not-so-smart Bixby to do your bidding

Not to be outdone by Google’s Assistant-powered Google Home, Amazon’s Echo, or Apple’s Siri on the HomePod, Samsung has launched the Galaxy Home (seeing a pattern here?), a smart speaker that uses Samsung’s own omniscient digital assistant, Bixby. The speaker is one of several new devices launched alongside the Galaxy Note 9, on which Bixby is also installed.

Samsung says the new Galaxy Home brings together Bixby, amazing sound, and elegant design. It contains six speakers and a subwoofer for surround sound, complete with tuning and audio technology from AKG and Harman — two Samsung-owned companies. There are eight microphones to pick up your voice, even from a distance, when the Bixby voice assistant is called into action.

Samsung has made the design considerably more space-age than some other connected speakers. It rests on three stainless steel legs and has a shape that may remind you of a pineapple or a witch’s cauldron. Samsung used 160 of the speakers to provide the audio during the launch event, showing some of its room-filling ability. A set of physical buttons are on top of the device. In the brief amount of time we saw the speaker, it was difficult to get an idea of size, but it certainly looks larger than the Google Home or Amazon Echo speaker.

samsung unpacked galaxy home bixby speaker
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Outside of music, the Galaxy Home is a hub for Bixby. Samsung has updated the Bixby virtual assistant to become more conversational and more useful than the first version. It understands dates and can check local events, all without a wake word if you use the Bixby key on your phone. It is also designed to follow the conversation and doesn’t need reminding of the subject if you want to ask a follow-up.

Samsung separately announced a partnership with Spotify and confirmed the streaming music service will also be part of the Galaxy Home in the future. Bixby was demonstrated on the Galaxy Note 9 ordering an Uber, booking tickets for a concert, and making a dinner reservation. It was not shown working on the Galaxy Home.

If you’re wondering when you’ll have a Galaxy Home in your house, then Samsung’s not ready to tell you yet. This is very much an early look at the smart speaker, and more about it will be shared at the next Samsung Developer Conference, which takes place on November 7 in San Francisco, California. Even then, Samsung may not be ready to provide a release date or the price for the Galaxy Home and instead may talk about a Galaxy Home software development kit or further app partnerships.

We’ll keep you updated with Galaxy Home speaker news right here.

Updated on August 9: Updated with official announcement details. 

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