Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 and S8+ with a dedicated hardware button for its own Smart AI Assistant called Bixby. However, Samsung couldn't live up to its word of releasing Bixby with support for English voice commands in the two flagships to date. The reason for the delay is rumored to be due to the lack of data to train the AI. The AI assistant is currently being tested on a limited number of community devices and according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the full release of Bixby is "unlikely before the second half of July".
Meanwhile, WSJ also reports that Samsung is currently developing its own connected Smart AI based speaker running Bixby to take on the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple's upcoming Homepod smart speakers. This new category of connected smart speakers is even catching the attention of Chinese players as recent reports say Alibaba are also working on building their own version of smart speakers. Also, Chinese messaging service Line are reportedly working on their own version of Voice controlled speakers.
Samsung's Bixby based speakers project has been codenamed Vega. But due to the slowly release of Bixby on its smartphones, the Project Vega is currently progressing at a very slow rate with no expected time of arrival or any innovative features that it could bring to the table (or home to be precise) at the moment.
Although Google Assistant is presently a great alternative (or even better) as an AI assistant for Samsung's smartphones (which by the way still works on the S8 and S8+ but can't be evoked by the Bixby button), the Bixby based speakers could be seen as a great connecting link to all of Samsung's Smart Home Products and IoT devices; this is something Samsung tried to do with its Smart TVs but hasn't worked out as well as the company would have expected it to. So Bixby speakers may be the right tool to complete Samsung's ecosystem.