During CES 2019, Samsung announced basic integration between its Smart TV lineup and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Samsung plans to rollout this integration later this year.
This partnership (via CNET) may come as somewhat of a surprise given Samsung’s recent push of its own Bixby assistant. It’s worth noting, however, that what’s been announced today is a far cry from what was rumored a couple weeks ago. Samsung won’t be implementing Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa directly into their TVs. Instead, they’re simply giving the two virtual assistants the ability to pass basic commands to their TVs.
For this to work, you’ll need a dedicated Google Assistant device like the Google Home or Lenovo Smart Display or any of the smart speakers that integrate Alexa, including the Echo line or the freshly announced Edifier S1000A. You’ll essentially be able to use those types of devices as limited remote controllers. Functionality will include powering on/off your TV, changing the volume or channel, launching specific apps, or changing the input source.
If this functionality sounds familiar, that’s because Chromecast and Android TV devices already support similar functionality. This is just the first time we’re seeing direct integration with a Smart TV lineup.
This move comes just as Samsung surprised us with plans to offer an iTunes app and AirPlay 2 support on its smart TVs. Combined, these moves suggest Samsung may be willing to form additional partnerships moving forward as part of a mission to make their TV software more competitive.
According to Samsung reps talking to CNET, support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa will first be available on 2019 TV models. The company hinted that older models could eventually receive the new feature via an update.
What do you think of this partnership? Would you consider ditching your TV remote to instead rely on Assistant or Alexa? Let me know in the comment section below.