Samsung has officially pulled the wrappers off Bixby, its rival to Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant and on of the key features of the soon-to-land Galaxy S8.
A long time in the making, and the result of a tie–up with artificial intelligence (AI) firm Viv Labs, Bixby is set to make its debut on the Galaxy S8, due to launch
on 29th March.
Want more Galaxy S8 news? We've collated all the rumours in our one-stop round-up.
But how does it work? And what makes it stand out from the competition? Read on and we’ll tell you five things you need to know about Samsung Bixby.
1 There's a dedicated Bixby button
Samsung has revealed that Bixby will have its own dedicated button on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
The reasoning behind this is simple: Consumers still don’t fully understand how to use voice assistants.
To use Bixby, all they’ll need to do is press the button and speak their command, whether it’s to check the latest football scores and get the weather forecast for next weekend.
Samsung is hoping that this proves less clunky than holding down the iPhone’s home button to access Siri or saying ‘OK Google’ when near a Pixel or Pixel XL.
2 It'll work for all functions on compatible apps
Samsung has promised that once an app becomes ‘Bixby–enabled’, it will be able to handle virtually every task it can when used via touch controls.
The Korean company says this is an issue with existing services such as Siri and Google Assistant, where apps can only replicate certain features via voice commands, forcing users into a trial and error situation.
Samsung has promised that ‘a subset of preinstalled apps will be Bixby–enabled’ on the Galaxy S8.
3 But no third parties yet
Despite promising to make a number of preinstalled apps fully Bixby–enabled, Samsung will not offer a software development kit (SDK) to independent developers when the Galaxy S8 launches at the end of March.
This will, however, be made available ‘eventually’. With Siri now available for iPhone devs to tinker with and Apple plotting major changes to it ahead of the iPhone 8 launch, this could be a serious issue for Samsung in the long term.
4 It's context-aware
Samsung claims that Bixby will be context aware, allowing users of the Galaxy S8 to switch between voice and touch commands in a Bixby–enabled app without losing a conversation trail.
This, it says, is a major stumbling block in Siri and Google Assistant.
It’s in these situations when the latter often say they don’t understand and give up the task entirely, putting users of virtual assistants for good.
What’s more, Bixby should be able to complete tasks even when users give it incomplete information, second guessing what users need based on their current situation, rather than failing to intuit what’s required.
5 It's not just your smartphone
Samsung, like Amazon with Alexa, doesn’t want Bixby to be confined to one device.
Expect to see a slew of Bixby–backed products appear over the next year, from smart TVs to home appliances, capable of learning your habits and responding to requests.
It may just be that Bixby is the virtual assistant breakthrough we’ve all been waiting for.
It's not just Bixby, you know? Here's five other ways Samsung Galaxy S8 will outdo the iPhone 8.