Samsung to launch Galaxy Home smart speaker in challenge to Apple's HomePod

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It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now official following the company's Unpacked event. This is still mostly your standard Note phone, though. Contrary to rumors, it runs Tizen, not Wear OS. Users will be able to stream and download their Spotify playlists on the Galaxy Watch's internal memory.

Back on the Galaxy Watch, this one comes with full Spotify compatibility thanks to Samsung's recently-announced collaboration with the music streaming service.

The 42mm version of the watch, which is the smaller size, starts at $329, while the larger 46mm version starts at $349.99. These prices are for the Bluetooth variants of these sizes, with LTE / 4G variants costing more and coming a little later in the year.

No phone offers the combination of technology, features, and capability that the Galaxy Note9 does, and Samsung is well aware of that. The base price of $999 for the 128GB model matches that of the iPhone X, albeit with double the storage. Of course many more retailer offers will be going live as I write this, so shop around. I think this is because it is very good but an incremental upgrade.

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In addition to offering 39 different exercise tracking types (including benching, squats and cool downs) the Galaxy Watch also includes a more holistic health experience with its new stress management tracker.

Colour-wise there's Oceaon Blue, Lavender Purple, Black, and Copper. Fortunately the battery isn't needed for the typical stylus features that classic Galaxy Note users will be used to. You're looking at about $1,250 for the version with more storage and RAM.

The Bluetooth-only models of the Galaxy Watch will be available on August 24 starting at $329. This is likely due to the extra grunt needed to maintain a mobile connection.

In addition to the expected smart watch features such as reminders, messages and scheduling, the Galaxy Watch is pushing heavily into the fitness and wellness space, with a particular focus on the latter. You can easily switch between the various tracking functions and modes by rotating the Galaxy Watch's bezel.

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It did reveal the speaker has eight microphones that will delivery "far-field voice recognition" for its Bixby.

Note 8 was a hit model past year - post the debacle which Galaxy Note 7 created within the consumer mindset.

Finally - and probably most importantly, the smartwatch works with both Android and iOS devices.

Samsung didn't give specifics about the Galaxy Watch's battery life, but it did suggest that it may be better than other traditional smartwatches. However, it falls just short of an instabuy, and especially so if you have the Gear S3 or Gear Sport. It comes with Bixby and smartthings hub built-in for home automation. Or simply watching below. Hopefully, we'd score more color options down the road as the current ones are a bit limited, which is a problem for a fashion-oriented wearable like the Galaxy Watch.

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