Samsung is giving us possible reasons to cement our belief that it is developing a smart speaker that may be powered by its in-house digital assistant, Bixby. The South-Korean manufacturer introduced the Google Now/Assistant competitor on its S flagship duo, and even presented a dedicated button on the S8/+ to justify its importance amid several thwarted attempts by developers to remap the key’s function as Samsung is not taking a hint that some users do not want anything to do with Bixby.
There is a chance that Bixby will hone its linguistic prowess and enter English-speaking markets following the acquisition of Innoetics, a Greek startup that works on text-to-speech technology. The firm, which has been in operation for more than a decade specializes in technology that listens to people talking, and tutoring them about what to say, in addition to using the same voice to read text that is not related to the tutorial.
According to Innoetics, its technology offers world-class text-to-speech solutions that sounds naturally, and is working hard to add more languages with ‘new synthetic voices’ in a bid to offer groundbreaking products and services to a market that is currently obsessed with voice assistants and AI.
Prior to the acquisition, Innoetics has conducted its craft with telcos, among other small businesses on a Business-to-business (B2B) model. While it may have let go of B2B, it is believed that its applications are market-ready and have potential for mass adoption.
It is clear why Samsung is keeping the reason for the acquisition under lock and key because that would be leaking info about ongoing, unannounced projects. Notably, the company has stated that it has always been working to diversify its business by strengthening relationships with companies such as Innoetics ‘whose technologies present an avenue to boost Samsung’s capabilities.’ That’s probably code for Bixby improvements, smart speakers to rival Google Home, Amazon Echo and HomePod, or a completely new product that we’ll not see coming.
The acquisition cost about $50 million.