The first mention of Samsung’s Galaxy Home smart speaker came all the way back in August 2018, but the device never made it onto store shelves. After multiple delays, you might finally be able to buy one for yourself – – maybe. The Samsung Galaxy Home Mini is slated to launch on February 12 in South Korea, a full two years after the initial announcement of Samsung’s entry into the smart speaker market.
Rumors have circulated about whether Samsung will launch the product in other markets. Samsung would be competing in a crowded market dominated by Amazon and Google here in the U.S., so it’s poised to be an uphill battle right from the jump. The concern is that Samsung’s dominance over the South Korean market makes the smart speaker a more attractive prospect there than it might be elsewhere.
Still, the speaker has quite a lot going for it. One standout feature is the inclusion of an infrared function that allows it to control older appliances that cannot connect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The IR functionality is interesting, but it does limit placement of the Galaxy Home Mini; the smart speaker will need to be within view of any appliance its connected to via infrared.
The Galaxy Home Mini will also have AKG speakers, built-in voice control through the Bixby voice assistant, and smart home connectivity. It will offer users an alternative to the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Home smart speakers. The estimated price upon release is roughly $85 U.S. based on a conversion of South Korean won to U.S. dollars. When and if the device is announced for American markets, a more firm price point will be given.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Galaxy Home Mini looks like a generic smart speaker. It’s larger sibling, the not-yet-released Galaxy Home, is more striking, with three silver legs that give it the appearance of an egg-shaped spaceship.
It’s good to see the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini finally receiving a release almost a year after the initial planned release of April 2019. The release of the Galaxy Home Mini before the Galaxy Home is strange, but the market is poised to welcome more competition in the world of smart speakers.
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