Samsung is opening up its voice-activated assistant Bixby to developers, the company announced at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. It's one of three moves the company is taking -- along with expanding Bixby to more devices and expanding support for more languages -- to increase Bixby's footprint. Bixby will transform "from a simple mobile voice assistant to a scalable AI platform," Eui-Suk Chung, EVP and head of software and AI, said during the conference keynote address. Samsung's three-part strategy for expanding Bixby's reach "will lay the groundwork for Bixby to be our singular commitment to AI," Chung said. Samsung will be rolling out a new set of developer tools and launching the Bixby Marketplace to support developers.
It's been a long time coming, but Bixby has finally found its voice. Samsung is gearing up to push out the final piece of its AI package, Bixby Voice, to all Galaxy S8 phones. Before long, millions of people will be saying, "Hi Bixby" to summon the new assistant. I had a chance to test an early version of Bixby Voice, and there's actually quite a bit you can already do with it. It's a little slow on the trigger at times, but I was impressed with how well it was able to understand me.
We haven't seen hide nor hair of the Galaxy Home smart speaker since its unveiling alongside the Note 9 in August, but Samsung has been hard at work ahead of its presumed 2019 launch. The Galaxy Home made an appearance as part of a Bixby Routines demo I received at Mobile World Congress, and the device has gained some fun new tricks. Bixby Routines are customized if-this-then-that commands that let you control a group of devices and actions with a single command. Currently exclusive to the Galaxy S10, several preset options are available for optimizing your phone by turning on battery saver and night mode. But on the Galaxy Home, routines will be tailored to things that make sense in your house, such as turning on the lights when you say, "Hi Bixby, I'm home."
The Galaxy S8 with Bixby will be the successor to last year's the S7 handsets. NEW YORK--Ahead of the March 29 launch of its next flagship smartphone, Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S8 will have a new voice-driven digital assistant named Bixby, molded by artificial intelligence. S8 owners will be able to summon Bixby on the phone at the press of a button. Samsung revealed some general details on Bixby in a blog posted Monday by InJong Rhee, the company's executive vice president and head of R&D, for software and services. Rhee did not mention in his post whether Samsung will leverage the conversational-based voice technology developed by Viv Labs, a startup Samsung bought in October.
The concept of virtual assistance has been in consumers' mind for more than half a century, first introduced through Sci-Fi movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) featuring virtual assistant HAL and infamous quote "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." Portrayed as a must-have feature by the consumer tech industry, our research at Ovum shows that digital assistants, in fact, fall short of consumer expectations and can't do what they want. A survey conducted by Ovum in the UK and the US in May 2017 revealed that more than 50 percent of consumers don't find digital assistants useful (see Figure 1). The digital assistant population will equal today's human population in 2021. Instead, Google Assistant will dominate the native (i.e.