Samsung is getting closer to joining Apple, Amazon, and Google in the smart speaker market.
The Korean tech giant will release its long-awaited Bixby Speaker within the "next month or so," The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing unidentified sources who claim to have knowledge of its plans. The sources believe the release will happen around the same time as Samsung's Galaxy Note 9, which is slated to be unveiled at a special press event in New York on Aug. 9.
Samsung's speaker has been the subject of a slew of rumors over the last several months. It's believed that the device will run Bixby 2.0, a new version of the virtual personal assistant that will also debut on the Galaxy Note 9. In addition to playing music, some reports have suggested the speaker could play a role in controlling smart home devices around the house.
According to the Journal's sources, the Bixby Speaker, which is codenamed "Lux," will offer a bowl-like shape and legs on the bottom. There will be lights at the top, according to the report.
Like Apple, which earlier this year launched its HomePod smart speaker, Samsung will try to make the case that its Bixby Speaker is a top-notch music player. To make that case, the Bixby Speaker will likely offer high-end speakers and could come with a sound-shifting feature that will direct sound at the person who issued voice commands to turn on tracks. The feature would ostensibly create better-sounding audio for those listening. But exactly how it would translate in the middle of a room when people are all around is unknown.
By the sound of it, the Bixby Speaker won't compete on the same level as Amazon's Echo or Google Home for smart home control. But considering Samsung is already competing in that market with the SmartThings Hub, don't be surprised to see at least some smart home features added to the speaker.
The Journal's sources say the company will release the device for approximately $300. That would be $50 less than the HomePod but considerably more than the second-generation Echo ($99). Google Home costs $129, but the more powerful Google Home Max is $399.
Look for the Bixby speaker to be available in the U.S. and other major markets in the coming weeks.