Samsung Electronics has thrown its hat into the ring to compete in the AI speaker market with the Galaxy Home Mini. It remains to be seen whether the Korean tech giant will be able to penetrate the AI speaker market where not only Amazon and Google but Chinese players such as Alibaba are already fiercely competing.
Samsung Electronics took the wraps off its new AI speaker Galaxy Home Mini during the Samsung Bixby Developer Day held at the Convention Center of Sejong University on Nov. 21. Samsung Electronics unveiled its first AI speaker, Galaxy Home, in New York in August last year. However, the company has not released the Galaxy Home until now, one year after unveiling the model. It will enter the AI speaker market by launching the Galaxy Home Mini within several months.
While Samsung Electronics focused on sound quality when it unveiled the Galaxy Home last year, it emphasized connection in introducing the Galaxy Home Mini. The company says the Galaxy Home Mini allows users to control various home appliances, regardless of their manufacturers, with their voices. In particular, a user can control a device without an internet connection.
"We loaded four infrared transmitters on the Galaxy Home Mini. Infrared transmitters are commonly used in remote controllers,” said Lee Ji-soo, a director of the AI Team of the Wireless Business Division at Samsung. “We can control a device even though it is not a Samsung product and not connected with the internet.”
The Galaxy Home Mini allows a user to turn on and off a vacuum cleaner from LG Electronics or an air purifier from Xiaomi or with your voice. In fact, Samsung Electronics demonstrated voice control of a Hanil electric fan that did not have an internet connection. "Hi Bixby, turn on the electric fan," a Samsung employee instructed. Then the fan began to run. When the employee said “Turn the head,” it turned its head right and left.
The Galaxy Home Mini is expected to go on sale within several months as it passed its beta test. It is expected to retail for less than 100,000 won.
It remains to be seen whether Samsung Electronics will change the landscape of the global AI speaker market, which is led by the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. Most global IT companies are jumping into the AI speaker market as the IoT becomes increasingly important in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In the past, the Amazon Echo and the Google Home formed a two-runner race, but recently Chinese companies such as Alibaba and Baidu are rising as notable players. According to market research firm Canalys, Amazon sold 10.40 million AI speakers in the third quarter of this year, accounting for 36.6 percent of the market, followed by Alibaba with 13.6 percent, Baidu with 13.1 percent, Google with 12.3 percent and Xiaomi with 12 percent.
Meanwhile, Samsung also emphasized an AI service Bixby ecosystem. “Bixby is now available for 160 million units of electronic devices including smartphones, tablets, smart watches, TVs and refrigerators around the world,” said Jung Eui-suk, vice president of software and artificial intelligence at Samsung Electronics,