Is anyone home? Samsung's Galaxy Home smart speaker is a no-show at Unpacked 2019 Credit: Adam Patrick MurrayIDG
Business Management

Is anyone home? Samsung's Galaxy Home smart speaker is a no-show at Unpacked 2019

It’s been about six months since we’ve laid eyes on the Galaxy Home, Samsung’s answer to smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. It now appears we’ll have to wait even longer for another sighting.

First announced at Samsung’s 2018 Unpacked event last August, the ambitious, kettle-shaped Galaxy Home speaker hasn't been see since Mobile World Congress last February.

It seemed like this year's Samsung Unpacked event would be a good time for an update on the long-awaited Galaxy Home, but no dice. A Samsung rep I spoke to had no information about the speaker.

It's a worrisome development (or lack thereof, I suppose) for the Galaxy Home, which has seen very little buzz in the past few months. Indeed, there was hardly any chatter about it (beyond the "will we see it?" variety) in the run-up to Unpacked, in stark contrast to the steady stream of leaks about the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ smartphones.

The Galaxy Home is slated to arrive with a built-in SmartThings Hub, perfect for taking charge of your SmartThings-compatible smart devices.

The Bixby-powered speaker will feature a high-end audio designed by Harman’s AKG unit (Samsung acquired Harman International in early 2017), including six drivers and a built-in subwoofer, while “sound steering” technology promises to have the speaker direct its sound toward you when you ask it to.

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Samsung's Galaxy Home speaker as shown at Samsung's 2018 Unpacked event.

Eight built-in microphones help the Galaxy Home to pinpoint your position in the room, and they also help to boost the speaker’s noise-cancelling and voice-recognition capabilities.

At Mobile World Congress back in February, Samsung revealed that the Galaxy Home will support Bixby Routines, customizable sets of actions that the speaker will carry out based on your voice commands or certain preset conditions.

For example, you could set a Bixby Routine (a feature that’s currently exclusive to the Galaxy S10+) that turns on the lights and fires up your favorite Spotify playlist when you arrive home from work, or another that sets a calm lighting mood in your living room when you say “Bixby, I’m ready to meditate.”

Samsung has said the Galaxy Home will also be able to show weather and movie selections on compatible Samsung TVs, as well as ping a missing phone, press a suit hanging in your Samsung AirDresser smart closet, find nearby restaurants, and answer phone calls.

But while Samsung has shared a fair number of details about the Galaxy Home’s features and functionality, it’s been skittish about revealing pricing or announcing a release date.

Samsung officials said back in February that the speaker would hit stores by April. When April came and went without the Galaxy Home, the unofficial launch date was pushed back to the “first half of 2019.” After that didn’t happen, Samsung CEO Hyun-suk Kim told The Korea Herald that the new target date was the third quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, a smaller Samsung speaker that looks like a pint-sized version of the Galaxy Home appeared in an FCC filing back in May, although Samsung hasn’t said anything official about it.

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