Competitors to the Amazon Echo and Google Home continue to debut thick and fast, although at least one manufacturer is reportedly throwing in the towel – with Samsung having supposedly cancelled its Bixby-powered smart speaker.
While it was in its early stages of development, Samsung was reportedly planning a smart speaker of its own to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Unfortunately, unlike all those smart speakers, Samsung’s model was supposed to use the Bixby assistant, something most consumers are unfamiliar with – especially given its exclusivity to the Samsung Galaxy S8. The smart assistant has also just arrived in English, following months of delays.
It’s no surprise to see Samsung pull back from the smart speaker market, especially given the fact that it’s become so crowded in recent months. According to a source speaking to The Korea Herald: “Samsung currently does not view Al speakers as marketable, as the global market is already dominated by unbeatable Amazon and the Korean market is too small to make profits.”
While it’s certainly true that Amazon dominates the global smart speaker market, with 80% market share, the company would face little competition in its home market of South Korea. That’s because the two dominant smart speakers currently on the market, the Amazon Echo and Google Home, has yet to launch in the region. Given Samsung’s global nature, however, it’s understandable why the company wouldn’t want to concentrate all of its efforts on a single country.
“Samsung cannot afford to focus on the uncertain market, as most of its AI specialists – whose number is much less than that of the US tech giants – are currently going all out to develop the Bixby version in English,” the source told the paper.
While Samsung is abandoning its Bixby-powered smart speaker, don’t expect it to be a permanent cancellation. With the smart speaker market set to be worth $13 billion by 2024, Samsung will likely be able to resist the lure for too long.