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IT'S GOT LEGS

Samsung’s new smart speaker looks like an alien baby

Quartz/ Dave Gershgorn
The new Galaxy Home.
  • Dave Gershgorn
By Dave Gershgorn

Artificial intelligence reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Samsung is making a smart speaker to compete with the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google, called the Galaxy Home, the company announced at an event in Brooklyn, New York today (Aug. 9).

The rotund device is covered in fabric, much like Apple’s HomePod, but unlike any other smart speaker, it’s suspended in the air by three stubby legs. To roughly imagine the design of the Galaxy Home, think of a pear on top of the little plastic three-legged table used to keep the top of the pizza box from touching the pizza.

Details on the device, besides its appearance, are scarce. The device will run Bixby, Samsung’s subpar voice assistant, which will be able to control internet-connected devices, and play music on command. Samsung invited Spotify CEO Daniel Ek onstage to explain how the streaming music-company’s service will soon be deeply integrated with Bixby and the Galaxy Home, but we don’t really know much besides that.

During the event today, Samsung showed off Bixby making a reservations at a restaurant and calling an Uber, but that was on its new Note 9 smartphone, and required input on the screen from the user. It’s not clear if Bixby will have all the same capabilities on the Galaxy Home.

However, the device will recognize if other Samsung products, like the Note 9, are nearby, and if you come within range of the speaker while playing music on the smartphone, it will ask whether you want to transfer the audio stream to the Home.

Samsung is using AKG’s name to market the sound quality of the speaker, indicating that the device will be pitched as a music-first device like Apple’s HomePod, rather than a house for a virtual personal assistant like Alexa. (Samsung bought AKG’s parent company, Harman, in 2017.)

A smart speaker from Samsung, the company that makes everything from televisions and ovens to smart refrigerators and air conditioners, isn’t a stretch. The company is in the business of creating an ecosystem of products meant to work together—the real test of this speaker isn’t whether its sound is certified by audiophiles or Bixby’s intelligence, but whether it works seamlessly with new Samsung products like the Note 9.

Samsung said we’ll get more information about the Samsung Home, ostensibly its price and ship date, at its Developer Conference in November.

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