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Is Samsung building a Bixby-based AirPods rival?

Samsung is plotting an answer to Apple’s AirPods earbuds, leveraging the nascent Bixby personal assistant, according to reports on Friday.

ETNews says the noise cancelling wireless buds will arrive alongside the Galaxy Note 8, which is almost certain to be outed at the Unpacked event on August 23.

The report says the AirPods competitor will go on sale alongside the new phone in September, and will optimised for use by small businesses.

Such a speedy launch would be surprising to say the least, given Bixby is still in its infancy and in no position to compete with the likes of Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant.

Related: What is Bixby?

Although some of the camera-based features are active in the US and Europe, the voice-based portion of the assistant is still awaiting an official English-language launch.

It is, of course, possible Samsung will release this accessory in its homeland while it brings Bixby up to speed in other territories.

Also, it could be that a major Bixby update is on the way that’ll help unlock its potential in other languages.

Although it’s difficult to tell for sure, a translation of article appears to quote a Samsung spokesperson who confirms device is real but adds it isn’t completed yet.

It’s not too hard to imagine Samsung going down this route. Earlier this summer it was rumored the company was planning to launch a smart speaker to rival the Amazon Echo, Google Home and, eventually, Apple’s forthcoming HomePod speaker.

It is believed those plans have been shelved for now, presumably for the same reasons it wouldn’t be wise to release a device that relied heavily on Bixby at this time.

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