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Samsung-Harman digital assistant coming in 2018

06 September 2017

Harman, an electronics and audio specialist acquired by Samsung Electronics earlier this year, unveiled two AI speakers at the IFA 2017 in Berlin, Germany. "Harman's expertise in audio, sound control technology and specialties in electronic auto devices are expected to generate great synergies by meeting Samsung's strengths in mobile, audio-visual, AI and semiconductor sectors".

Harman, which opened a booth about 2,000 square meters at the Berlin Radio Tower, displayed products such as smart audio devices, headphones, connected home devices, and aftermarket vehicle audio products under the theme of Connected Life. The Samsung speaker will have a better AI platform than Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. Back then, the company described the deal as the latest step in its endeavor to diversify its core business and strengthen its position in the connected auto systems and vehicle entertainment segments, and it's now unclear whether Samsung was always planning on using Harman's talent and other assets to facilitate the development of its artificial intelligence (AI) speaker, though that seems like a probable scenario.

So how will the AI platform on Samsung's smart speaker be better than Google Assistant and Alexa?

Apple's entry into the smart speaker market with HomePod will begin to roll out in the US, UK and Australia this December.

As you can see from the design, it seems that the Allure will be retaining some of the design language of Harman Kardon's iconic SoundSticks speakers.

So it looks like the company is quite confident regarding its Bixby-powered speaker and believes that it will offer a lot more than the competition. When away from home, HomePod is the flawless home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad. "We are expecting AI speaker markets as we are working with variety of partners". So this is a potentially huge disadvantage that their home speaker system may have on day one if they can't dramatically improve on that blatant weakness.

Another weak point is that Samsung is convinced that they'll win in the home market just because they make appliances.

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Samsung-Harman digital assistant coming in 2018