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Samsung's smart speaker is finally nearing launch, but is it late to the party?

The Bixby-powered Galaxy Home Mini is on its way.

Published onJanuary 7, 2020

Samsung Galaxy Home Mini blue light on 8

Samsung’s plans to launch a competitive smart speaker have not really panned out as expected. It was in August 2018 that Samsung announced the Bixby-powered Galaxy Home. More than a year later, the smart speaker is no closer to an official release than it was last year. In fact, it might never make it to the market as Samsung readies its younger sibling for an early 2020 launch.

Called the Galaxy Home Mini, the smart speaker was first released for beta testing in August 2019. Now, Bloomberg reports that Samsung plans to launch the Home Mini sometime early this year. The confirmation comes from Samsung’s CEO of Consumer Electronics Division, Hyun-Suk Kim at the sidelines of CES 2020.

Unlike the larger Galaxy Home, the Home Mini does not feature a barbecue grill-like form factor. It’s got a more compact spherical design which would better blend in your living room that its oddly-shaped big brother.

Samsung wants to make the Galaxy Home Mini the best voice controlling device for its own smart appliances. The speaker, of course, comes with Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby. The sound on it is tuned by AKG and It is capable of controlling smart home devices thanks to its Samsung SmartThings integration.

The South Korean company aims to differentiate the Galaxy Home from Amazon and Google’s offerings by making it less conversational. Instead, Samsung wants to focus on getting voice-based command execution right. “Orchestrating a smooth question-and-answer exchange” isn’t Samsung’s priority, Bloomberg reports.

Is the Galaxy Home Mini late to the party?

Samsung is entering a pretty crowded smart speaker ecosystem and on top of that, it’s late in the game.

Right now, Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers and displays lead the pack globally. The company managed to maintain its dominant position thanks to the Echo Upgrade program it launched last year. Stellar performance in Prime Day and Back-to-school sales also made Amazon unbeatable in 2019.

On the other hand, Google’s popular Nest and Home devices have landed it the fourth spot in the global smart speaker market.

In such a highly competitive space, Samsung’s Galaxy Home Mini, its first smart speaker, would need stand-out features to convince buyers. From what we saw of the speaker back in October, it seemed pretty solid. Although, it did lack a wide library of commands you would get with Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri.

Now that the Galaxy Home Mini has a confirmed launch timeline, we definitely look forward to putting it through its paces once it arrives.

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