Samsung confirms it will compete with Apple’s hottest new gadget

Samsung has a smart speaker up its sleeve.
Photo: Apple

Surprise, surprise; the rumors were true. Samsung will compete with Apple’s hottest new gadget.

In a new interview following the launch of the Galaxy Note 8 on Tuesday, Samsung mobile president DJ Koh confirmed the company is developing a smart speaker that will take on HomePod and Amazon Alexa. He also hinted that it will be announced “soon.”

Sources familiar with Samsung’s plans told The Wall Street Journal back in July that the South Korean company was interested in competing with HomePod and similar devices. It was said to be developing a device codenamed “Vega” that would have its Bixby assistant built-in.

Samsung quickly denied this rumor, with an unnamed executive telling The Korea Herald that it had no interest in such a device, with the market already dominated by Amazon’s Alexa devices. Now we know those claims were false.

Speaking to CNBC following the launch of the Note 8, Koh said he is “already working on” a smart speaker, and “maybe soon we will announce it.” He wants to ensure the device will “provide a fruitful user experience at home with Samsung devices.”

“I want to be moving quite heavily on it,” he added, suggesting the device is an important part of Samsung’s future product lineup.

Koh didn’t offer any further details, so it’s not yet clear what we can expect from the device, when exactly it will be available, or how much it might cost. But given Samsung’s track record, you can expect it to offer as many of HomePod’s features as the company can replicate.

HomePod will make its debut in December, priced at $349. It is expected to be in short supply initially, with only 500,000 units scheduled for production before the end of the year. It is likely that Samsung will be working hard to hit the market around the same time.

Bixby made its debut with the Galaxy S8 back in April. Its launch wasn’t quite as spectacular as we expected, with important features missing in many markets. However, voice support finally started rolling out to the U.K. and a number of other countries earlier this week.

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