Samsung may not launch any AI speaker anytime soon

- Adrian Ungureanu

Samsung may not launch an artificial intelligence speaker anytime soon due to marketable issues, even though a couple of weeks ago some rumors emerged suggesting that the Korean tech giant was preparing to compete with Amazon, Google and Apple.

“Samsung currently does not view Al speakers as marketable, as the global market is already dominated by unbeatable Amazon and the Korean market is too small to make profits,” an anonymous source told The Korea Herald.

The global AI speaker market is currently dominated by Amazon Echo, which has a more than 70 percent share. There is also the emerging player Google Home. The Korean market is dominated by SK Telecom’s NUGU with around 100,000 units of sales.

“More importantly, Samsung cannot afford to focus on the uncertain market, as most of its AI specialists — whose number is much less than that of the US tech giants — are currently going all out to develop the Bixby version in English,” the source said.

Although the Korean tech giant may not launch its own AI speaker anytime soon, it is preparing for AI speakers by testing out the technology for some of its appliances, such as smart refrigerators, in case the market begins to take off, the source said.

Market research firms predict that sales of such speakers will boom this year. EMarketer forecast that 35.6 million Americans would use a voice activated device like Amazon Echo or Google Home monthly in 2017. Gartner predicted that 75 percent of households in the US will have one voice speaker, while 20 percent have two and 5 percent will have three or more devices.