There were plenty of rumors out there suggesting Samsung was planning on jumping on the smart speaker bandwagon, and, sure enough, that is indeed the case.
On Thursday, Samsung announced a variety of new things. That includes the Galaxy Note 9, which features a gigantic 6.4-inch display and plenty of other worthwhile specs you’d want in a flagship phone. On top of that, the company also unveiled a brand new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch, changing some branding along the way to probably make the smartwatch a bit more worthwhile in brand recognition out there on store shelves.
And then there’s the company’s smart speaker, the Galaxy Home.
Samsung was basically teasing the market with its unveiling, confirming that a smart speaker exists and then basically hinting at a few features without actually digging into any detail. We heard that it will offer surround sound-style audio thanks to six speakers and a subwoofer, and Samsung is working towards a device that offers high-quality audio performance. So this is definitely meant to go after the Apple HomePod, but also speakers from the likes of Sonos and Google, with the Google Home Max. It’s technically competing with devices like the Google Home and plethora of Amazon Alexa-powered smart speakers out there, but Samsung is already talking up audio quality, so we can probably guess this is going to be an expensive option.
There are people who are going to buy this speaker, which means that I hope it works really well. But I’ve got some thoughts here.
There’s Bixby, to start. This is a Bixby smart speaker, like Apple’s HomePod is a Siri smart speaker. I imagine those similarities are going to continue later this year when the Galaxy Home launches, too. Bixby is a great idea, but it’s lacking in execution. It has a lot of room to grow. And it appears that Samsung is invested so heavily in the digital personal assistant that we’re not going to see it going anywhere anytime soon. Will the Galaxy Home smart speaker help Bixby’s footprint grow? Maybe! But I know several different people who own Galaxy smartphones that support Bixby and they don’t use it at all. Every single one of them opts for Google Assistant.
Pricing and audio quality are going to be huge factors, as they should be, but since we don’t know anything about either one of those things, we’ll go ahead and skip to the most important part:
This thing looks . . . interesting. I’ll be honest: When I first saw it I thought Samsung was trolling people. I didn’t have any context with the first picture I saw (video was muted, no text) and I thought for sure we’d see another slide where we’d see “the real” Galaxy Home smart speaker. But the slide didn’t change and apparently this is the real deal.
It’s apparently wrapped in fabric at the top, and there are buttons on the flat top side that will allow for media playback and volume controls. And then . . . there are those metal legs. I’m not particularly blown away by the design of the HomePod, or Google’s Home Max, or any smart speakers that aren’t Sonos really, but this thing, in my opinion, is eye-catching for all the wrong reasons.
I feel like this could have been dreamed up for one of those Sci-Fi stories or speculative pieces back in the 1970s, where authors envisioned what the future would look like in the futurescape version of 2010. This Galaxy Home smart speaker would fit perfectly in that vision. And maybe that’s exactly what Samsung was going for here. But I can’t stop staring at it, and not for good reasons.
What do you think about the Galaxy Home smart speaker? Admittedly, we don’t know a lot, so there’s plenty of room to speculate. Go for it down in the comments below!
[image via The Verge]