Samsung Reveals That It's Working on a Smart Speaker
Codenamed “Vega”, the device will be powered by Samsung’s new Bixby voice assistant.
[THEME MUSIC] ANDREW NUSCA: Welcome to Fortune Tech Debate, where we debate the issues of the day in two minutes. Today, we're talking about Samsung's new smart home device. All right, Lisa. What is this thing? LISA EADICICCO: So there was a report today that mentions that Samsung is working on a new device that's a lot like the Amazon Echo, except it would run on its own voice assistant called Bixby. And I just feel like they have a long way to go to catch up to Amazon. ANDREW NUSCA: Really? LISA EADICICCO: Amazon already owns 70% of this market so far. ANDREW NUSCA: But this market is just beginning. LISA EADICICCO: But Amazon already has this whole ecosystem of products, of apps that work with it, of smart home devices that work with it. ANDREW NUSCA: Sure. LISA EADICICCO: They have a bunch of different products in different price ranges already. ANDREW NUSCA: And I will give it to you- LISA EADICICCO: They have a vision. They have a strategy. They're not making a me too product. ANDREW NUSCA: --that Echo and Alexa are definitely like the Band-Aid of this category. Right. Like that's we would just call them that even though I mean, they clearly stand in for it. LISA EADICICCO: Right. ANDREW NUSCA: Look, we can't underestimate Samsung. This is a multi-billion-dollar global conglomerate, a Fortune Global 500 company. This is not somebody you want to mess with. And clearly, what we saw, I mean, you remember the smart phone situation right? LISA EADICICCO: Right. ANDREW NUSCA: Samsung was not a player in the early smartphone days. LISA EADICICCO: But how are they going to stand out here? There is Amazon, which, you know, their Echo is good for shopping, smart home control. That's kind of what they're framing it as. Apple is framing the HomePod as being the best smart speaker for actually playing music. ANDREW NUSCA: Right, right. LISA EADICICCO: You have Microsoft getting into the space with Cortana, which ties into your work email. ANDREW NUSCA: Right. LISA EADICICCO: You have Google, of course. ANDREW NUSCA: So what's Samsung's going to do. LISA EADICICCO: So what's Samsung going to do that-- ANDREW NUSCA: Interoperability. LISA EADICICCO: --Google, that Amazon-- ANDREW NUSCA: That's what I think. Look, I don't think Samsung is going to come out of here with such distinction that Amazon has, right? I think, clearly, Amazon tapped into something it didn't probably didn't even know was tapping into at first, and it did. And it's great for them. Samsung is going to win because it's global. It's got enormous amount of money. It is a hardware master. LISA EADICICCO: But when? When everyone already has an Echo? When everything works with the Echo? ANDREW NUSCA: I agree. Maybe Bixby is not going to be at the tip of everyone's tongue, but I do think we shouldn't underestimate Samsung. And I do think this category is still early. We can't just say that Amazon has got it won. LISA EADICICCO: It's early, but everybody already has a foot in the door, except Samsung. ANDREW NUSCA: All right. Well, we're out of time. Come to fortune.com from more Tech Debate. [THEME MUSIC]