2.13.2020 5:15 PM

Tech

The Galaxy Home Mini comes free with S20 pre-orders in South Korea

Still no word on a proper global release, though.

Oh, Galaxy Home Mini, you're such a tease. We've seen you in leaks and were even given a reported release date, and yet you were nowhere to be seen during Unpacked 2020. What gives? Will you ever see the light of day?

Today, we get a resounding... sort of. The long-delayed mini version of Samsung's smart speaker is available for pre-order in South Korea as part of a promotion for the Galaxy S20. Those who pre-order one of Samsung's new flagship phones between February 14 and February 26 will get the Galaxy Home Mini for free, as spotted by TizenHelp.

It's been a long wait — Samsung's smart speakers are long overdue. The full-sized, cauldron-like Galaxy Home was first announced back in 2018, but numerous Samsung events have since passed with no update on when we'll be able to buy one. The miniature version, which may retail for $83 if it ever goes on sale in the U.S., features 5W speakers from Samsung's AKG audio division and has volume controls up top along with a switch to toggle the microphone on and off. It looks like a taller, rounder Echo Dot, really. Or like a Google Home Mini that's been stretched.

Bixby is listening, but is anyone talking? — The one big potential stumbling block for the Galaxy Home Mini is that the digital assistant you'll be speaking to is Bixby, which hasn't exactly taken off since Samsung introduced it to its high-end phones in 2017 with the Galaxy S8 range. In fact, Samsung's removed the dedicated Bixby button from its recent phones, which isn't exactly a vote of confidence in the voice assistant's abilities.

It's unclear what the hold-up with the Galaxy Home has been, but the longer Samsung waits the more crowded the field becomes, and the better Bixby's rivals Alexa and Google Assistant get. If Samsung wants us to take its smart speakers seriously it needs to show us it's serious about getting them into our homes.