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Samsung smart speaker reportedly on the way

The company's mobile chief confirms to CNBC that Samsung is close to joining the crowded field of voice-activated smart home speakers.

Samsung is reportedly close to launching a smart speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo and others.
Samsung is reportedly close to launching a smart speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo and others. 
Chris Monroe/CNET

Industry watchers saw this coming, and now CNBC says it's confirmed that Samsung is working on a smart speaker like Amazon's Echo, Google's Home and Apple's HomePod.

In an interview ahead of Samsung's Galaxy Note phone launch, DJ Koh, the president of Samsung's mobile division, said a smart speaker is on the way.

"Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it," Koh told CNBC.

Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Korean manufacturer is developing a smart speaker powered by Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, which is similar to Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant. The Journal said the speaker, code-named Vega, has been in the works for more than a year but many features and specifications are still being decided.

Samsung would be joining a crowded field of voice-activated, stationary speakers, which can be used in a kitchen or living room to play music, order a pizza, dim the lights or even tell a knock-knock joke, all without having to look at a screen or use your hands.

Many tech companies now expect smart speakers --  not phones -- to become the hubs that power your future smart home. The devices are expected to surge in popularity, with global sales reaching 15 million units by 2020, up from just 1.8 million last year, according to Strategy Analytics.

The smart speaker wasn't all Koh opened up about in his interview with CNBC: He also said Samsung is set to launch a new smartwatch, the next in the Gear S series, at an event next week.