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Samsung has flurry of gadgets coming

Along with new Note, Galaxy smartwatch, AI speaker are expected
July 26,2018
As Samsung Electronics gears up for the launch of the Galaxy Note9 next month, it also has a slew of other new products coming soon, including a smartwatch and a smart speaker.

Samsung is getting ready to unveil a new smartwatch alongside its new Note9 phablet on Aug. 9, according to industry sources. The tech giant is dropping the Gear brand for smartwatches, which it has used since 2013, and is integrating the smartwatches under Galaxy brand name for the sake of “uniformity.” Samsung currently sells the Gear S2, Gear S3 and Gear Sport smartwatches.

The company is also ditching its tradition of launching its new smartwatches at the annual IFA tech fair in Berlin in August, which happens a few weeks after the company usually launches the Note.

According to a brief leak on Monday on Samsung’s U.S. website, which Samsung may or may not have intentionally released, the Galaxy Watch model will have a size of 42 millimeters (1.65 inches), come in a rose gold color and feature Bluetooth connectivity.

Despite rumors that the new smartwatch from Samsung might use Google’s Wear operating system, the Galaxy Watch is likely to stick with the company’s Tizen software. Some new health and fitness features will be added to the watch.

A Samsung spokesman refused to confirm rumors about product launches and their schedule, only saying that nothing has been fixed except for the date of the Note9’s unveiling.

Samsung will also probably launch an artificial intelligence (AI) speaker that uses voice commands later this year. It’s likely that the AI speaker, the first of its kind from the tech giant, will be showcased at the IFA international tech fair in Berlin, which is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 31.

Samsung recently filed a new trademark request for the word Magbee, which it said was short for magnetic beetle and rhymes with Bixby. It could be the name of the speaker.

The Samsung speaker will have to compete against a handful of AI speakers already available from a range of competitors, including Google and Apple, and domestic companies such as Naver, Kakao, SK Telecom and KT.

The first AI speaker from Samsung is being jointly developed with Harman International Industries, the American audio manufacturer Samsung acquired at the end of 2016. The device is expected to boast top-notch sound quality.

The speaker will carry a price tag of $300, according to tech site The Verge. That is lower than Apple’s HomePod, which sells for $350, but much higher than SK Telecom’s Nugu, which costs less than $100.

Speculation is high that the speaker will be powered by Bixby 2.0, the follow-up to the initial version of Samsung’s voice recognition AI platform, which was first launched in March last year with the Galaxy S8. Samsung already made it clear it would launch the upgrade to Bixby with the Note9. Despite high expectations from users, Bixby is not the most loved feature of Samsung’s latest Galaxy models. It frequently fails to recognize voice commands and struggles with simple tasks, like weather forecasts. In the face of criticism and disappointment, Samsung has been investing heavily in AI research and development.

The Galaxy TabS4 is also likely to be unveiled at the IFA. The tablet PC will come with enhanced security features, which will combine iris and face scanning, according to various media reports.

It will have a 10.5-inch display with a 10:5 aspect ratio and a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera and an 8 megapixel front-facing one.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]