Samsung Electronics Co. kicked off 2020 with an array of gadgets from prototype augmented-reality glasses to a new smart speaker.
The world’s biggest maker of home appliances plans to launch the Galaxy Home Mini smart speaker in early 2020. The Korean giant believes it can build a unique ecosystem around the Mini by making it the best controlling device for the home gadgets and appliances that bear its brand.
Powered by Bixby, Samsung’s offering will focus on making home appliances execute voice commands rather than attempting a conversation based on artificial intelligence trained on reams of internet user data. Appliances linked to the Mini will be able to carry out orders such as scheduling when the dishwasher should run or making sure the washer’s rinse cycle is complete before the user gets home. “It’s not about when we release the product, but it’s more crucial how much further we can evolve the technology. No other speaker in the world can control gadgets as much as Samsung can”, said Hyunsuk Kim, CEO of Samsung’s consumer electronics division.
Like Amazon and Google’s home ecosystem ventures, Samsung sees the Mini acting as the hub connecting all its present and future AI-embedded hardware. That would encompass any devices connected through its SmartThings app as well as gadget rivals’ products linked via infrared connections.
Wearable technology is another big area of focus for growth-starved companies, and Samsung’s latest effort is a teaser for its own AR glasses, seeking to succeed where Google Glass failed. The company is working to minimize dizziness, which is the key to making the glasses as small as possible.
Kim said Samsung is putting an emphasis on safeguarding privacy by employing the necessary computations on the device itself, removing the need for user information to ever leave the smart appliance or user’s home.
Unlike advertising-reliant businesses like Facebook and Google, Samsung’s gadget consumers will get to choose whether to share data with the cloud to access additional services or just save data on their devices, Kim said.
“We will minimize data sharing; … We are a latecomer in the AI field, but we are catching up very fast.”