Galaxy Note 8
It seems Samsung could be delaying the release of its Galaxy Note 8 successor. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

If a new report is to be believed, Samsung could be delaying the release of its successor to the Galaxy Note 8. The South Korean company is said to be more keen on launching its Bixby smart speaker in the second half rather than its next smartphones.

Korea Herald reported Monday that Samsung appears to be in no rush to release another smartphone following the launch of the Galaxy S9. The tech news site derived this statement after hearing what Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said at a press conference for Korean reporters.

Apparently, when Koh was asked about the roadmap of Samsung for its hardware releases, he gave a rather vague statement that somehow alluded to a shift in focus when it comes to releasing new technology. Koh also reiterated that Samsung will only launch foldable phones and handsets with in-display fingerprint readers when they are fully ready.

“We developed mobile phones earlier than China, and we were obsessed with being the world’s first and industry’s first rather than thinking about how this innovation would be meaningful to consumers,” Koh said. “Being the first turns out to be meaningless today, and our strategy is to launch something that consumers believe meaningful and valuable at a right time.”

Some tech sites reported last month that Samsung could be preparing a successor to the Galaxy Note 8 that has an in-display fingerprint scanner. Because Koh’s statement is implying that the Korean tech giant could only release a phone with in-display fingerprint sensor “at a right time,” it’s speculated that the company could potentially delay the release of the Note 9. It’s either that, or Samsung could be ditching plans for an advanced biometric system once again just to release the Note 9 on time.

Samsung has a lot on its plate right now. It is currently focusing on completing its Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod rival, while also preparing its long-rumored foldable phone. When Samsung introduced Note 8 last August, it also teased the possibility of launching a foldable smartphone in 2018. But due to some technological difficulties, Samsung is struggling to keep its word. Sources say Apple’s biggest rival has decided to start mass producing the rumored Galaxy X later this year ahead of its launch in early 2019.

Meanwhile, Samsung is more keen on releasing its Bixby smart speaker this year. Koh has already confirmed that the device will arrive in the second half, but he did not specify the date. Nevertheless, he did say that Samsung is launching the Bixby speaker “when it’s ready with top quality, because we are a newcomer in the market.”

Koh also pointed out that its smart speaker will be capable of doing more than most of its rivals. “Samsung’s AI speaker will be more than speaking to the machine and listening to music. The speaker will not be a single hub, but be one of many platforms such as TV, refrigerator and other appliances that form a true Internet of Things environment,” Koh said.

Though Koh appears to be hinting at a delay in Samsung’s hardware releases, it’s still worth noting that he did not literally mention the Galaxy Note 9 for that matter. So despite the company’s struggles to put out its new devices, it’s very likely that the company already has everything planned, and part of that is the scheduled release of the Galaxy Note 8’s successor later this year.