Samsung has launched a preview program for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 owners who want to try out Bixby Voice ahead of its official release in the U.S. At the same time, some updates for Bixby have been rolled out, suggesting that the company's voice assistant could soon be fully functional in the country. On Wednesday, Samsung opened the preview program to allow select Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 users to test out the Bixby Voice command features. Only those who signed up for the program will get the chance to do this. The rollout of this beta will last for a few days, so don't be worried if you had signed up and still haven't received the notification for the update. Android Authority says that consumers who have signed up for the preview should update all of their Samsung-branded apps to their latest versions in the Galaxy App store before testing the voice command features.
Owners of a Samsung Galaxy 8 or Galaxy S8 can now try the smartphones' much-awaited virtual assistant, Bixby -- if you sign up. Bixby has not been officially launched in the United States, but Samsung announced Galaxy 8 owners can now sign up on its site to try a preview version of the feature. "New voice features are coming to Bixby and we're inviting you to get access first," the webpage says. Samsung touted Bixby as a part of the company's Galaxy S8 and S8 smartphones, but it didn't release the virtual assistant in time for the devices' April launch. Bixby's full version was reportedly set to launch to Galaxy users in the U.S. later this month.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has been on the market since late-April and its highlight feature, Bixby Voice has finally been implemented onto the device in the U.S. market. The artificial intelligence update is rolling onto Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 handsets over-the-air, adding to the overall platform, the ability to instruct the handset to execute functions with one's voice. Bixby serves as Samsung answer to other AI assistants such as Siri, from Apple, Alexa from Amazon and Google Assistant. In addition to Bixby Voice, the assistant includes features such as the Hello Bixby Hub, which serves as a hub for vital information for those using a Bixby enabled handset, Bixby Reminders, which learns user's patterns and sets automatic reminders, and Bixby Vision, which uses the Galaxy S8 camera app as a machine learning identification tool to pull information about products, places or things or even translate text. The latter three features were enabled on Bixby when the Galaxy S9 launched; however, Bixby Voice was delayed due to Samsung having issues implementing English speech recognition onto the platform.
Does Samsung even understand how to launch a tech product? On Friday, the South Korean tech giant finally let customers sign up for preview access to the eagerly anticipated Bixby personal assistant, which was supposed to launch with its brand new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 smartphones. The devices even include a dedicated Bixby button. SEE ALSO: Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 prove you can never have too much screen Thus far, that button is only useful for access to Bixby Vision, which can identify some objects and products, and link you to shopping options. The real Bixby will be less like Apple's Siri and Google Assistant with their answers to general interest questions and maybe a little more like Amazon Alexa, with voice control for various devices.
Samsung is rumored to be building its own smart speaker, which will be powered by its Bixby voice assistant. The development of the device is said to have slowed down due to the lack of progress with Bixby. Samsung's smart speaker is said to be codenamed as Vega, according to The Wall Street Journal (via The Verge). Unfortunately, the WSJ's report didn't include details about the smart speaker's specifications, nor did it provide a timeframe for when consumers can expect it to be released. What was made certain about the report is the development of project Vega is being slowed down.