About a year ago, rumours abounded about a Samsung smart speaker. Today came confirmation that Samsung, at least imminently, won’t be releasing a Bixby speaker. However, it seems Bixby will still be embedded into other Samsung appliances.

More rumours about the reason for the cancellation — Amazon. If you can’t beat ’em, don’t play. Maybe that’s not a bad strategy. But it doesn’t seem to translate into the same strategy for virtual assistant. Samsung has the advantage on the device level, not the application level.

If Bixby is to be a truly intelligent assistant, perhaps it shouldn’t be like other voice interactive assistants. It should be able to use the deep data of the device to build recommendations. It knows how many times we press buttons, how clumsy we are with our phones, when we’re looking at our phone and when we’re not, how we hold the device, how much pressure we exert on tap. It can use this better than Google or Amazon (and maybe, since Samsung uses Android, better than Apple), to gather this information and make insights.

Of course, this news about no Bixby speaker could just be a decoy tactic to buy Samsung more time and take the heat off of a Bixby speaker delay. We’ll see.

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