One thing is very clear upon first look at the Galaxy Home. Samsung is once again trying to beat Apple at its own game. The company could have gone any number of different directions with the product, taking on entry level devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home (or, for that matter, the Dot or Mini) or something a bit weirder along the lines of Harman Kardon’s Cortana speaker.
Heck, even a Smart Display might have been in the cards for the company, though that would have meant embracing Google Assistant — something the company has clearly been not very keen to do.
Instead, the device’s black cloth cover and premium sound makes it pretty clear from the get go that Samsung once again has Apple firmly in its sites here. And why not? Bixby is still a ways away from being a true Alexa or Google Assistant competitor, so logic follows that it would take first aim at users who’ve got the disposable income to plunk down $1,000+ for a Note 9.
That said, while there are clear HomePod echos here, the design language is still unique. The speaker takes a quasi-teardrop form, which a base that seamless transitions into three metal tripods. It’s an interesting choice, which suggests that the premium speaker would be just as at home on the floor as it would a desk or tabletop.
There are no physical buttons on the top of the device. Instead its a touch surface that illuminates as a bright, white ring. There’s also a light up AKG logo, in case you forget that Samsung now owns the company that tunes all of its audio products. There don’t appear to by any inputs here, either, so there’s no plugging in auxiliary products. Instead, you’ll fully wireless on this one.
It’s hard to imagine Bixby itself being a compelling enough motivating factor for more than a small handful of users, so the importance of Samsung’s Spotify partnership can’t be understated. Even among Apple users, there’s likely still a sizable contingent of users still holding onto Spotify accounts.
Sadly, we can’t really speak much to sound quality or other functionality yet. For now the Galaxy Home is really eye candy at the event. That said, the device is “soon,” which I expect means we’ll be getting our hands on it “sooner.”