The Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to launch on the 29th of March but ahead of that, Samsung just announced that the Galaxy S8 will come with its own voice assistant called Bixby. S8 users will be able to interact with Bixby just like its counterparts like Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.
But just so you don’t ask Samsung why it’s not just going to just use Google’s Assistant especially now that Google is expanding the service to other non-Google devices, well Samsung says Bixby will be “fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market,” but just what do they mean by it would be fundamentally different from its rivals like Siri and Cortana?
InJong Rhee who is Samsung’s executive vice president and head of R&D says “Instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us….the interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort.”
He added that “users will be able to call upon Bixby at any time and it will understand the current context and state of the application and will allow users to carry out the current work-in-progress continuously.”
But not to miss out on the fun of allowing developers build Bixby enabled apps, Samsung says the new phone will come with some pre-installed Bixby apps while releasing a tool that will let developers build Bixby enabled apps too. Apple had last year opened up for the first time its digital assistant to developers by saying “Developers can build on the intelligence Siri offers and let users interact directly with apps using just their voice. SiriKit™ helps developers easily design their apps to work with Siri for messaging, phone calls, photo search.”
But it looks like Samsung may be planning to take Bixby beyond the Galaxy S8 confines in other territories and Rhee puts it, “since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, as long as a device has an Internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby,” Rhee wrote. “As the Bixby ecosystem grows, we believe Bixby will evolve from a smartphone interface to an interface for your life.”
Viv Labs (a company made up of people behind Siri) was bought by Samsung in October but we don’t know if Bixby is based on their technology.