Samsung Receives FCC Approval for an AI Speaker Which Looks Like a “Galaxy Home Mini”
The FCC has approved a new “AI Speaker” device submitted by Samsung for licensing compliance. Samsung first debuted its premium smart speaker, Galaxy Home, during an August launch event for the Galaxy Note 9 smartphone. The devices were on display in multitude at the Samsung Developer Conference in November 2018 and DJ Koh, Samsung’s Co-CEO, said it would begin shipping in April during a February 2019 event. However, the device did not appear in April and the company subsequently indicated the device would launch in the “first half of 2019” according to CNET.
Smart speakers have become popular in several markets and the installed user base rose nearly 40% in 2018 to 66 million U.S. adults according to Voicebot’s 2019 Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report. The devices have become a critical voice assistant access point for the home and Samsung is vying for more use of its Bixby assistant beyond smartphones. Smart speakers are also becoming a hub for both smart home and media control which are both important to Samsung’s SmartThings and television product lines respectively. However, the Galaxy Home is expected to be a premium smart speaker with a price point above $200. This smart speaker price range accounts for no more than 10% of the installed user base and Samsung would like to drive higher market penetration. A lower priced offering could help Samsung generate more adoption.
Is a “Galaxy Home Mini” Readying for Launch
The first indication of a smaller version of the Galaxy Home was reported in December by SamMobile. At the time, the only details available were a product number, SM-V310, and that there would be a version in black. The product number for the Galaxy Home smart speaker is SM-V510. It was pure speculation that it would be a smaller device in the same product line, but the hunch appears to be correct with the latest FCC filing. The timing also suggests the smaller smart speaker could either launch alongside or be announced simultaneously with the Galaxy Home release in the coming month.
The most successful smart speaker sellers today are Amazon and Google which together account for 85% market share in the U.S. A significant contributor to that market success have been the entry-level Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini smart speakers which both carry list prices below $50. Apple, with its $299 HomePod, has seen far less success in establishing a large user base. While the Galaxy Home device appears poised to compete directly with HomePod, it makes sense for Samsung to offer an entry-level product that can induce user trial and supplement the premium smart speaker throughout the home.