Although Samsung reportedly canceled its Bixby-powered smart speaker, there still might be plans to incorporate the voice assistant into other devices. Samsung is apparently working in partnership with another South Korean company to develop Bluetooth earbuds with Bixby built into it, ET News reports.
To add to the list of smart home speakers — from Amazon’s Echo, to Apple’s Homepod, and the Google Home — Samsung was reportedly developing its own AI-equipped smart speaker with Bixby built in. The original plan was for the smart speaker to be featured in a variety of devices throughout the home, including appliances.
The latest report from South Korean publication The Investor indicates the device may have been canceled completely due to a lack of marketability — but it could also be due to Bixby’s past issues. While voice recognition problems apparently halted Samsung’s previous attempts at launching a smart speaker, Bixby also had an English language delay on the Galaxy S8 over three months after the phone’s release.
The report in terms of the Bluetooth-powered earbuds makes the inevitable comparison to Apple’s Airpods — the wireless earbuds that also connect to Bluetooth, and can trigger Siri for any question or command you may have. With Bixby earbuds, you’ll essentially be able to do the same things — play music and use the voice assistant. You’ll also apparently be able to give commands and receive answers with Bixby even when your smartphone isn’t close by.
One difference between the two competitors is the “Noise Blocking Technology” Bixby is supposedly releasing with the earbuds — a feature the AirPods don’t have. With the technology, users will be able to block out all background noise other than their own voice in order to receive accurate answers from Bixby even while in loud and crowded environments.
ET News suggests Samsung and the South Korean company are already running tests to link Bixby with Bluetooth earbuds — likely to be released at the same time as the Galaxy Note 8 release in September. It is yet to be determined whether the company will supply the earbuds as a bundle with the smartphone or if the earbuds will be sold as a separate accessory.
Digital Trends first revealed the existence of Bixby in March, following interviews with the head of research and development at Samsung Mobile Communications Business Group in South Korea.
“Philosophically, what we’re looking at is revolutionizing the interface,” Injong Rhee told Digital Trends.