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Samsung’s appliance head touts upcoming Galaxy Home Mini speaker

Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Home Mini will likely be launched soon as the company plans to link the voice-activated AI speaker with most of its upcoming home appliances, according to its head of digital appliances on Wednesday.

Lee Jae-seung, executive vice president and head of the digital appliances business at Samsung, highlighted the role of the artificial intelligence speaker that will connect almost all Samsung products this year during a press conference to unveil the company’s latest AI laundry solution, Grande AI.

Introduced as Samsung’s second PRISM Project, Grande AI boasts the shortest time -- 36 minutes -- needed for laundry, an all-in-one controller for a washing machine and a dryer, and a sensor that detects the dirtiness of laundry.

During the press conference, Samsung officials demonstrated starting the Grande AI washing machine by issuing a voice command to the cauldron-shaped Galaxy Home Mini speaker. 

Lee Jae-seung, head of the digital appliances business at Samsung Electronics, introduces the laundry solution Grande AI at a Samsung flagship store in Seoul on Wednesday. (Samsung Electronics)
Lee Jae-seung, head of the digital appliances business at Samsung Electronics, introduces the laundry solution Grande AI at a Samsung flagship store in Seoul on Wednesday. (Samsung Electronics)

“When the Galaxy Home Mini is launched, connections among Samsung appliances will be further enhanced through the Samsung SmartThings platform,” Lee said. “The company has been making consistent efforts to allow multi-device extensions through Bixby.”

The remarks were made in response to skepticism about the presence of Bixby, Samsung’s AI software.

The mini version of the Galaxy Home speaker is expected to be unveiled at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event slated for Feb. 11, along with the Galaxy S20 smartphone series and foldable Galaxy Z Flip.

The speaker is expected to hit the market by March with an estimated retail price of around 80,000 won.

“Samsung will continue expanding utilization of Bixby by launching the speaker in foremost markets like Korea and the US,” said Yoo Mi-young, vice president for software development at the digital appliances unit.

Shown to industry officials at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, the Galaxy Home Mini is also expected to be able to control any non-Samsung product that has a remote control.

The speaker has infrared transmitters commonly used in remote controls for electronics, which will make the speaker a universal remote control, according to Samsung officials. 

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)

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