Samsung is said to be already working on its own smart speaker that will be powered by Bixby. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Samsung reportedly is working on a smart speaker that would compete directly with Google Home and Amazon’s Echo devices. Samsung’s speaker will be powered by Bixby, the digital assistant that was first introduced on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

The new report on Samsung’s rumored smart connected speaker was made The Korea Herald. The news site said that Samsung has already been granted design patents for the new standalone speaker device, and it most likely will be powered by the company’s own Bixby assistant.

The report is quite accurate as International Business Times reported last month Samsung was indeed granted two patents: one for a Note-branded smartphone, and another that’s only listed as an “audio device.”

The Korea Herald’s report also said Samsung isn’t completely going in blind for its own Bixby smart speaker. Samsung subsidiary Harman Kardon is working alongside Microsoft on the Cortana-powered Invoke speaker. The Invoke speaker is expected to arrive in the coming months.

This is also one of the main reasons why Samsung will be releasing the Bixby smart speaker much later than Invoke, possibly even next year. The company would want to avoid the two from competing with each other, as pointed out by Android Headlines. However, Samsung could still release its smart speaker this year as its rivals are already taking way too much of a lead.

Although Samsung’s connected home speaker is being dubbed as the Bixby speaker, the final product might actually be called Samsung Hello. It was discovered in February the South Korean phone maker was able to get Samsung Hello trademarked, which was described as a voice-enable software for controlling devices and organizing digital content. At the time, Samsung Hello was thought to be Bixby’s real name or one of its main features.

Releasing its own connected smart speaker would be vital to Samsung’s relevance as the global IoT (internet of things) and artificial intelligence market is already growing. Amazon led the way with its Echo speakers, which are powered by Alexa, and Google followed with it Home device powered by Assistant.

Most importantly, Apple just revealed its own version of a smart speaker this week with the Siri-powered HomePod, which is due for release in December. Apple is already a huge rival of Samsung when it comes to smartphones, and it looks like the next battlefield will be with their smart speakers and digital assistants.

That said, Samsung is already expanding the availability of its Bixby assistant beyond the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones. The company confirmed last month Bixby would be pre-installed to its Family Hub 2.0 refrigerators. Units that were already shipped would receive an over-the-air update to install Bixby.

Although that might not be a big deal for many, having Bixby available on its refrigerators would give Samsung time to improve its digital assistant before its smart speakers are officially revealed. Having Bixby on its Family Hub 2.0 refrigerators also signals Samsung’s interest in fully committing to its new IoT ecosystem.