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Samsung's Bixby gets a little smarter


The Bixby-powered Galaxy Home speaker will launch in April, Samsung said. Samsung's AI platform Bixby is still a minor player in the virtual assistant market, with just a fraction of the audience that Google, Amazon and Apple enjoy. Still, Samsung continues to invest in Bixby's capabilities and its reach. At the Galaxy S10 Unpacked event on Wednesday, Samsung announced that Bixby is now officially available in four new European languages. And speaking with ZDNet's sister site CNET, Samsung co-CEO DJ Koh on Wednesday said the Galazy Home -- a Bixby-powered smart speaker -- will finally launch in April.

LG's PJ9 Bluetooth Speaker Features Levitating Technology, 360 Audio

International Business Times

While Samsung and Apple are busy preparing their Amazon Echo rivals, LG has launched a new Bluetooth speaker that banks on levitating technology to capture the attention of consumers. The LG PJ9 is a portable speaker that utilizes magnetic technology to keep it floating in the air for hours, and it is now available in the electronics company's home country. On Tuesday, LG officially launched the PJ9 Bluetooth speaker in South Korea, just two months after the product made its debut in the U.K. back in August. The company proudly shared that what makes its speaker noteworthy is the 360 degrees audio it provides thanks to its unique design and floating technology. LG says the PJ9 is capable of delivering good sound quality because the speaker itself is floating above the Woofer Station, as per Korea Herald.

Samsung adds voice commands to virtual assistant Bixby


Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby has added voice commands for UK users for the first time. The artificial intelligence-powered assistant first appeared on Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 smartphones earlier this year and enables users to ask questions and quickly access different parts of their smartphone using command prompts. Until now, voice commands had only been available in the US and South Korea, with only text and camera-based feature accessible to users outside these countries. But the UK is now one of more than 200 countries included in the expansion, which can be triggered by saying "Hi, Bixby". Similar to other smart assistant's including Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, Bixby understands and responds to voice commands on scheduling, news updates and weather reports, as well as launching apps on a user's smartphone.

Essential Phone PH-1 will be launching later this year

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A new handset designed to take on the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy could be launched in the UK before 2017 is out. Essential, founded by Android inventor Andy Rubin, hopes to take on the industry leaders and has secured £230 million ($300 million) to make it happen. The technology firm has held talks with major network operators to secure a launch date for the minimalist mobile in the UK, Japan and western Europe. Customers in the US who pre-ordered the handset, however, are still waiting for theirs to arrive and there have been rumours of trouble at the startup. A new handset designed to take on the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy could be launched in a number of major markets before 2017 is out.

Samsung Galaxy S8: Bixby AI voice assistant is being delayed

The Independent - Tech

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will ship without voice control for its virtual assistant, Bixby. Samsung has huge ambitions for the new feature, which it calls an "intelligent interface". The company believes it could completely change the way consumers interact with their devices, and has even equipped the S8 with a physical Bixby button. Bixby will still run on the S8 and S8 Plus when the smartphones start shipping to customers in the UK later this month, but not to its full potential. Bixby Voice works in a similar manner to Apple's Siri, allowing users to control their handset with spoken commands.

Sony, Line eye AI-powered consumer gadgets

The Japan Times

Sony Corp. and Line Corp., Japan's most popular messaging service, are considering joining forces to develop devices powered by artificial intelligence. The companies are exploring opportunities around digital personal assistant technology to co-create a new communication experience, Sony said in a statement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday. Sony unveiled concept earphones powered by Xperia Agent, a virtual butler that responds to voice commands and head gestures. While Sony's Xperia smartphones are an also-ran in a market dominated by Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai has resisted pressure to shutter the mobile business. He argues it will serve as a springboard into the nascent market for wearable and interconnected devices known as the Internet of Things.

Google Pixel review: Not just the best Android phone ever made, but also the future

The Independent - Tech

It's easy to say that it's a boring time for mobile phones: every company has converged on one very similar design, a sheet of glass, metal and curved edges built around a black rectangle in the middle that shows you an increasingly stagnating operating system. And that's true, but also not, because Samsung's phones are blowing up on planes and literally threatening lives. It's into this strange market of stagnation and explosions that Google has released the first phone it had made itself. The stakes have never been higher – as well as Samsung's worries, Apple is also seeing growth in sales of the iPhone slow – but the opportunity has never been bigger. Google has had phones before, of course.

Google boss Schmidt reveals he has an iPhone

Daily Mail - Science & tech

As the executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company for Google, he would be expected to be an avid user of his firm's Android mobile phones. But Eric Schmidt has an embarrassing secret - he uses an iPhone 6s, a device made by his company's rival Apple. The technology chief made the admission during an interview at a seminar in Amsterdam, admitting he carries both the iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy S7, which runs on his company's Android software. Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt has admitted to using an iPhone 6s alongside the Samsung S7 that runs his own company's Android software. He made the admission after interviewer Julia Chatterley said she had seen him before taking to the stage with two phones in his pocket.