Samsung’s technological reach is formidable, shipping more phones than any other manufacturer. The company boasts nearly 23% of the global smartphone market, and its Gear VR headset, available since late 2015, is already among the most popular virtual reality devices going.
But when it comes to voice-activated speakers, a medium that some believe is on the cusp of becoming the next major computing platform, there’s reason to question whether Samsung has the wherewithal to keep up.
The South Korean technology giant may be developing a new Amazon Echo-like smart speaker powered by its Bixby virtual assistant, reports the Wall Street Journal. But it’s arrival would likely come long after category pioneers like Amazon, Google and Apple have either released or announced plans to launch voice-activated gadgets of their own.
Samsung’s dominance of the smartphone market speaks well of its ability to keep pace with the volatile tech landscape. But releasing a voice-activated gadget that could prove as popular as the company’s lucrative Galaxy phones poses two fundamental challenges: Samsung would be late to a space already dominated by Amazon and Google, and it has yet to prove that it can make a valuable virtual assistant. (Preliminary impressions suggest that Bixby needs no small amount of refinement.) While Samsung works to improve Bixby, its rivals have already carved out persuasive use cases for their respective voice-controlled gadgets.