Bixby is Samsung's home-grown virtual assistant that debuted on the Galaxy S8. It's still far behind Google Assistant in terms of functionality and language support, but Samsung has mostly continued to stick with it (they finally allowed users to disable the button a few months ago). According to a new report from Bloomberg, Samsung is working on a Bixby-powered smart speaker, and it's coming in the first half of next year.
The speaker is believed to have a focus on sound quality, similar to the Google Home Max and Apple's upcoming HomePod. Smart home control is also a key feature, as it will have deep integration with Samsung SmartThings. It will also reportedly sync with smart TVs, Galaxy smartphones, and other Samsung products.
One prototype being tested was somewhere between the new Echo speaker and the HomePod in size, and Samsung is supposedly considering different colors. The unit being tested did not have a screen, only colored LEDs at the top. The finished speaker is expected to cost around $200, and will arrive in the first half of 2018.
It will be interesting to see if Samsung can make a dent in the already-crowded smart home speaker lineup. Amazon still seems to be the leader in this product category, but Google has continued to gain momentum over the past year. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still trying to make Cortana speakers a thing, and Apple's HomePod has been delayed to next year.