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Samsung may join the smart speaker fray

A smart speaker powered by Samsung's Bixby voice assistant has reportedly been in the works for more than a year.

Samsung may be working on a smart speaker of its own.

Samsung is developing a smart speaker powered by its Bixby voice assistant, reported The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The speaker, code-named Vega, has been in the works for more than a year, according to the Journal's sources, but many features and specifications are still being decided. There's no timing yet for the device's release, said the report.

A spokeswoman for Samsung said the company doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.

Samsung would be joining a crowded field, going against smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and upcoming Apple HomePod. These voice-activated, stationary speakers 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.

Last month, Samsung started rolling out Bixby Voice to Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus owners who signed up for an early access beta. Samsung also plans to include the voice assistant on future televisions and refrigerators.

Update, July 5 at 2:01 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Samsung. 

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