We are now past way over half the month of March, and on the coming 29th Korean smartphone giant Samsung will be launching its newest model, the first significant step after the massive 2016 embarrassment of the faulty Galaxy Note 7 phone-tablet. Definitely focused on finally putting that serious misstep behind them, Samsung hopes to really take a long jump ahead of its fierce rivals by confirming that the Galaxy S8 will have a brand-new voice-activated digital assistant, one that could show up the likes of Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant. They have called it Bixby, and promise that this DA will be something “fundamentally different”.
USA Today reports that Samsung revealed details about the new digital assistant for their Galaxy S8 on a Monday March 20 blog post. In it, the company’s executive vice president and software R&D head In-Jong Rhee gave a few details about Bixby, how its programming was molded by artificial intelligence and how the Galaxy S8 smartphone will have a button that users can press to instantly summon him. No details however were broached by Rhee on whether the Bixby digital assistant may have any elements of the voice tech developed by Viv Labs, a recently-acquired startup of Samsung’s. It should be noted that some of Viv Lab’s co-founders wer part of the original Apple team behind the creation of Siri.
Rhee did write in the post that Bixby will stand on a class of its own from the other existing voice assistants in the market today, though he did not explicitly mention specific examples like the Amazon Alexa or Microsoft Assistant. The way he sees it, rather than having the human operators learning about how a machine interacts with the world it is instead, “The machine that needs to learn and adapt to us.” To that end, Samsung has designed the Bixby assistant to be capable of being summoned from the Galaxy S8 at any time and it will be fully understanding of the situation for which the phone’s user has called it out for, allowing them to “continuously” work on their current task.
Another question left unanswered by the Samsung blog post on Bixby is how many applications on the Galaxy S8 will have support for the new digital assistant and therefore be able to work in concert with it. Rhee did mention a number of preinstalled apps on the smartphone’s launch will already be optimized with Bixby. But more is sure to come as Samsung plans to release a development tool for third-party programmers to design and create their very own Bixby-compatible mobile apps and services. Eventually Bixby’s operational reach will extend beyond the Galaxy S8 to all future Samsung appliances, from TVs to even air conditioners.