Samsung’s “Unpacked” event in Brooklyn, New York, earlier this month, saw the South-Korean giant unleash a plethora of technology in the form of the Galaxy Note 9, the Galaxy Watch, and its first smart speaker, the Galaxy Home, which is being powered by the company’s very own voice assistant – Bixby.
Despite the announcement, and the fact that the speaker has been long coming,
Samsung didn’t announce a launch date; neither did it reveal everything about it, promising to release more details at the upcoming Developer’s Conference in November.
Galaxy Home could well prove to be a big step in Bixby’s bid to challenge the might of the Amazon Alexas, the Google Assistants, and Apple Siris of the virtual world.
Here’s everything Samsung wants us to know about the Galaxy Home, for now.
The first thing that strikes you about the Galaxy Home is its unique form factor; the more you look at it, the more you will take to it.
Shaped like a witch’s cauldron, the speaker sits atop three short steel legs, looking like a sophisticated high-end piece of work – which it is.
When you compare it with the competition, the Galaxy Home certainly stands out, not only as the most sizeable of them all but in terms of aesthetics and elegance, as well.
All the controls are on the top of the speaker, which lights up when Play, Pause, or Volume control is active.
Tuned by Samsung-owned Austrian acoustics company AKG, the six speakers built into the device, are capable of providing a 360-degree sound experience.
A subwoofer, which Samsung says is for “deep rich bass,” completes the audio system on the Galaxy Home, which should be capable of pumping out some formidable sound.
In addition to the surround sound, a new Samsung feature called SoundSteer makes it possible to direct audio toward wherever you are positioned in a room; all you need to do is wake your voice assistant by saying, “Hi Bixby, sound steer.”
That will be enough for Bixby to figure out your physical location, based on input from the eight microphones built into the device, which takes care of noise cancellation, as well; all of which makes it a pretty accurate voice recognition system, at least potentially.
To make your audio experience even better, Samsung is partnering with Spotify to give users access to the popular music streaming service with a simple voice command – how cool is that!
What’s not cool, though, is the fact that there is no information on support, or the lack of it, for other streaming services like Apple Music, Google Play Music, or Tidal.
We can only hope that Samsung doesn’t go the Apple way, whose Home Pod is limited to Apple Music support
However, it’s not a major issue as you can work around it to access any streaming service of your choice via Bluetooth from your smartphone.
Galaxy Home doesn’t have a 3.5mm port for a wired connection to your smartphone, or any other device; as a matter of fact, there are no wired options on this device, barring the power connection.
The upgraded version of the Bixby software – reportedly more advanced and intelligent – will be available on the Note 9 and Galaxy Watch, in addition to the new smart speaker.
Effectively, the Galaxy Home is much more than just a fantastic speaker; it also serves as a central hub for Samsung’s SmartThings, allowing you to control compatible devices through voice commands, made possible by the eight microphones and speaker’s intelligent far-field voice recognition capability.
The speaker looks promising but the big question is whether anyone wants to use Bixby, as people have more faith in Alexa, Assistant, and Siri.
It will take some doing on the part of Galaxy Home to make inroads into their territory.
Samsung, however, is sticking to its guns.
What the device is going to cost is not yet known but if one were to make a guess, Samsung is likely to price it somewhere in the vicinity of the $350 mark.
Is the Galaxy Home going to impress with its Bixby-powered capabilities?
Only time will tell!