Samsung reportedly eyes first half of 2018 for smart speaker debut

It will, of course, run Bixby.

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Astonishingly, Apple's long-delayed HomePod speaker might not be the last to market when it launches early next year. Samsung will release its own smart speaker in the first half of 2018, according to a Bloomberg report. Unsurprisingly, it will reportedly run Bixby, Samsung's personal assistant rivaling Siri and Alexa, and may be priced at $200.

The yet-untitled speaker will focus on audio quality and managing smart home devices, sources told Bloomberg. It will sync up with Samsung gadgets, TVs and Galaxy smartphones. It will also work with the SmartThings service and product network, the company Samsung acquired back in 2014.

Its pricing and release window are still in flux, the sources said, as the company improves voice-commanded web searches on the speaker. Samsung teased a Bixby-running speaker back in July, but that was just before the voice assistant's troubled launch. The company promised more functionality would be coming with an eventual series of updates, titled Bixby 2.0, that should bring its smart capabilities in line with -- and eventually surpass -- its rivals.