March 23, 2017

Samsung announces Bixby, new AI assistant for Galaxy S8

21 March 2017, 02:33 | Ross Houston

Samsung announces Bixby, new AI assistant for Galaxy S8

Samsung announces Bixby, new AI assistant for Galaxy S8

Samsung claims that Bixby is fundamentally different from other voice assistants in the market like Siri or Cortana, as Bixby offers assistance in controlling your apps.

Specifically, Bixby is created to make it possible for any touch-based input method in an app to be accessed, and utilized, just by the user's voice.

Samsung won't follow Google's strategy of keeping its voice assistant exclusive to one device.

What's more, going forward, Samsung notes that Bixby will be integrated into all of its appliances, which means you'll be able to talk to your washing machine, should you wish. For example, you might open your contacts app with your fingers and use Bixby to make a call, or start a text note with Bixby and finish it by hand.

As a recall, Samsung late of last year bought Viv Labs, which is an artificial intelligence startup company with co-founders who were part of the team that built and developed Apple virtual assistant Siri, which Apple bought roughly seven years ago.

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Earlier today, Samsung officially announced Bixby, its newest attempt at the digital personal assistant. It will take on the Apple "iPhone 8", which isn't expected to launch until this fall.

Samsung's AI agent will be able to perform nearly any task available through an application that supports its use. The exact wording from the Samsung webpage is "At the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of preinstalled applications will be Bixby-enabled". Samsung also thinks that Bixby won't be so intimidating to use, as it'll work through partial commands and won't hold users to such specific standards, like other assistants. Based on technology Samsung acquired past year from Viv Labs, Bixby will also include common features from its competitors, such as letting users interact with apps or make phones calls by talking to their phone. Samsung says that "completeness", "context awareness" and "cognitive tolerance" are the keys to its success. So in all of those leaked photos you saw that revealed an extra button on the Galaxy S8, we now know for sure that that will be held in place for Bixby. However, Samsung is working on a SDK (software development kit) tool for developers that will allow them to integrate Bixby into their apps too. Whether Bixby lives up to the hype remains to be seen, but it won't be long until we get to try it out first-hand.

How is it different from other personal assistants?

We are just a few days away from what is supposed to be the biggest announcement by Samsung, the launch of its upcoming flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8.

Samsung also says it plans to expand Bixby to all of its connected devices, from smart washing machines to connected TVs, a clear play against Alexa, which is already popping up in a variety of connected devices like robot vacuums and even Ford cars.

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