Samsung Galaxy Home & Mini [UPDATE] – Release date, Price & Everything Else You Need to Know
Comparisons With Other Smart Speakers | Spec Rumours | Pictures | and More...
Published: 2nd Jun 2019
NOTE: This article will be updated as new details emerge.
The smart home scene is really heating up with Samsung being one of the latest arrivals, after announcing the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker on August 9, 2018 alongside Galaxy Note 9.
Though the Galaxy Home has yet to launch, a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing reveals that there could already be a follow-up device.
Details on the two are still scanty, but the announcement that has been said is sufficient to whet the appetites of smart home enthusiasts. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming smart speakers.
Searching for an answer? Here's our table of contents:
What is Samsung Galaxy Home?
On the official Samsung website, the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker is described as a smart speaker with Bixby virtual assistant built-in and an ability to deliver a personalized experience and powerful sound. Everything from the Samsung Galaxy Home design to the functionality is aimed at the premium user, as we will discuss in further detail below.
It sports a unique tulip-shaped silhouette that sets it apart from the smart speaker design. While the entire exterior is made of fabric (with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Home screen), at its base, it sports three elegant metallic legs with rubber ends set off at an angle.
What is Samsung Galaxy Home Mini?
An FCC filing indicates that the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini speaker is going to be a smaller version of the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker. The Samsung Galaxy Home Mini design will likely incorporate a shorter body without legs and will take a pot-like shape.
This was recently confirmed when Samsung announced public beta testing for the smart speaker in South Korea. According to the application page, “Galaxy Home Mini is a smart home speaker that can control home appliances and IoT devices by voice through Bixby and SmartThings.”
Samsung also released images of the device when announcing the beta program. It is almost entirely covered in soft-touch fabric, with the exception of a rim connecting the top panel to the main body. Volume and other control icons sit on the top panel with the AKG symbol at its center.
Since the original speaker is a premium model, the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini price could be a little lower. But the device would still support Bixby virtual assistant and offer all the basic smart speaker functionality.
[UPDATE Oct 2019] Samsung Galaxy Home Mini
Samsung brought a version of Galaxy Home Mini to which occurred in San Jose, California.
While Samsung has still not announced an official release date for the Home Mini, they’ve at least given us a glimpse — which is a lot more than you can say for the regular Galaxy Home.
The Galaxy Home Mini has been developed in partnership with Samsung-owned AKG. It looks similar to a lot of other smart speakers in that it’s covered in fabric and has controls on top. We’ll know more about it once it’s finally released, probably sometime in 2020.
When Are Samsung Galaxy Home and Mini Launching? Any exact release dates?
[Quick search answer: Not yet, should be summer 2019]. When Samsung first made the announcement in summer last year, the tentative Samsung Galaxy Home release date was meant to be in April 2019. That has yet to happen, but Samsung recently confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy Home release date should not be too far off.
The Galaxy Home Mini release date is much harder to approximate as very little is known about it to begin with. It is yet unknown whether both speakers will launch at the same time or if there will be a different Galaxy Home Mini release date.
Starting August 28th to September 1st, the Galaxy Home Mini underwent beta testing with a total of 3,000 participants registering for the exercise. Therefore, it might be likely to launch later in 2019 or even 2020. Interestingly, there has been no similar beta testing exercise for the Samsung Galaxy Home smart speaker.
Why is Galaxy Home Release Date Being Delayed?
People have speculated that the case of the delay is the need to further streamline Bixby. The Samsung virtual assistant had a bit of a rough patch at the start and has not had as much practice as most others.
At the same time, there is the matter of support for the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem. In this regard, there could be challenges with compatibility that may have taken time to iron out.
For the Galaxy Home Mini, the beta testing seemed to suggest that the company might have at least made mention of it at IFA 2019. But it had no presence whatsoever at the Berlin tech expo, and neither did the Galaxy Home.
It would seem appropriate to launch both at the same time, but it is unclear whether this will be the case.
Samsung Galaxy Home Price?
With these premium features, it is expected that Samsung Galaxy Home price should be in the high range. Samsung Galaxy Home Mini price, on the other hand, might be lower, given the simplicity of the design. This could be in the same spirit as the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Do, which simply focus on market penetration.
What Will Galaxy Home and Mini Do?
As mentioned earlier, the Samsung Galaxy Home design is among its most outstanding features. But in terms of functional features, there are more similarities than differences.
Samsung Galaxy Home Screen
According to the early details from Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker sports a set of touch controls on the top panel. The controls on the Samsung Galaxy Home screen are for changing tracks, pausing and adjusting the volume. It is highly likely that we will also have a similar Samsung Galaxy Home Mini screen for controlling the smaller version of the speaker.
But for the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini, controls sit on a fabric panel, not a screen. That is a noteworthy difference between the premium model and the Mini which might also result in a significant price difference.
Sound Steer Technology
Samsung claims that it is the only AI-powered speaker that will intuitively move sound waves directly toward you whenever you ask it to, courtesy of Sound Steer technology. As such, it would be capable of immersing the user in sound, no matter its position in a room.
Bixby Virtual Assistant
The speaker will come with Samsung’s Bixby virtual assistant natively integrated to facilitate voice control of the smart home.
Samsung Galaxy Home Speaker Wake Word
The wake word that users will require to activate the assistant is “Hey Bixby.” A ring of light at the top as well will glow to indicate when Bixby virtual assistant is activated.
The First Samsung AKG Smart Speaker
One of its most noteworthy differences has to do with sound quality. Sporting an AKG logo on the top, the device takes its sound system from Harman Kardon, a Samsung subsidiary that owns AKG. Interestingly Harman Kardon is also the maker of the Microsoft Cortana Invoke Smart Speaker.
The Samsung AKG smart speaker reportedly has eight far-field microphones that will facilitate voice recognition as well as six built-in speakers and a built-in subwoofer to add bass into the mix.
This feature is uniform on both devices as the Mini too sports the AKG logo on top. But given the size of the smaller version, it is likely that the sound capabilities of the two will be vastly different.
The speaker is designed to work as a Samsung SmartThings hub, capable of automatically syncing with other devices in a smart home. An image on the Samsung beta recruitment page confirms that the smaller speaker will offer integration with the home automation platform, supporting voice control.
It also appears that the Mini will feature an IR blaster to control multiple home appliances. In view of the staggering number of appliances that Samsung makes, this feature could lead to some major growth in the brand’s smart home automation capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy Home and Mini vs. Other Smart Speakers
Based on the scanty details available on the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker and the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini speaker, little can be said with finality on how it could compare to its key rivals. But here are a few possibilities:
Samsung Galaxy Home vs. Google Home and Assistant
According to Samsung CEO DJ Koh, the eventual speaker should be “more premium” than what the company teased during the initial announcement in August last year. With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker is likely to be pricier than Google Home speakers.
However, considering the mystery surrounding Samsung Galaxy Home Mini speaker, it is far too early to tell whether it will fall in the same range as the Google Home Mini.
But the one thing we can almost be sure about is that Samsung’s smart speakers and virtual assistant will not have Google’s search power. Google has at its disposal vast resources from its search engine and few smart speakers and AI assistants can even come close.
What it might do is enhance the functionality of other Samsung devices such as Samsung phones which nowadays come with Bixby integrated. At the same time, since the speaker comes with a Spotify partnership, it can be expected to offer a superb experience for music lovers in the smart home. Though Google Home supports it, moving Spotify seamlessly from device to device is a challenge but on Samsung Galaxy Home it is flawless.
Google Assistant is also far more refined and experienced than Bixby, who has yet to become a fan favorite.
Samsung Galaxy Home vs. Amazon Echo and Alexa
Amazon Echo and Alexa are currently leading the pack when it comes to the AI-powered, voice-controlled smart home. Samsung might have a difficult time trying to upend the status quo for several reasons.
First, the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker is meant to be a premium product and might not have as wide a market reach as the wide variety of smart speakers that support Alexa. Probably, the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini is a great place to start but there’s a lot more ground to cover.
Second, Alexa has had a lot of time and practice to get to her current capabilities. In contrast, Bixby virtual assistant got off to a rough start and is yet to gain traction even in the Samsung ecosystem.
On the bright side though, even though Alexa has one of the widest ranges of products to work with, the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem is also quite comprehensive. In this regard, the Galaxy Home will have a wide scope of operations in the smart home.
Reports also indicate that Samsung Galaxy Home developers will have the opportunity to make apps for Bixby to boost use cases. Amazon already allows for that and allowing Samsung Galaxy home developers to do the same is aimed at helping create traction for the assistant.
Samsung Galaxy Home vs. Apple HomePod and Siri
Just like the Apple HomePod, Galaxy Home is poised to be a premium smart speaker. Based on the Samsung Galaxy Home design, it has more of a focus on sound quality and performance than being a do-it-all helper.
But one of the features that could set it apart from Apple HomePod is Sound Steer. The Apple HomePod can adjust its audio settings based on the location, but the Galaxy Home will reportedly identify the user’s location in a room and direct sound towards them.
Another potential advantage of the system is its integration with the Samsung SmartThings range of devices. This includes a lot more devices than what is currently available in the limited Apple ecosystem.
Though Samsung has yet to reveal details about the Samsung Galaxy Home release date, Samsung Galaxy Home price and other aspects