Bixby's success or failure should improve all smartphones

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Bixby's success or failure should improve all smartphones
Samsung is a strange company in many ways. It's the only maker other than Apple to make a profit in mobile hardware, but it has a bit of an inferiority complex because it doesn't have the software story to compete top to bottom with Apple and Google. But, that doesn't keep Samsung from trying. Samsung's attempts in software often misfire either because of a lack of interest (Tizen) or because Samsung is doing nothing more than doubling up features found in other apps (like the Samsung browser, calendar app, etc.) It's easy to see Bixby squarely in that second category, but that's not quite accurate.

Bixby does duplicate a number of features you are likely to find in the Google Assistant, which will live alongside Bixby on the upcoming Samsung devices (whenever Bixby is actually shipped, that is.) But, I think Samsung has a chance to have something special with Bixby, and if it does, Bixby might die a very quick death. 

That sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually links up to something I went on record saying three years ago that I wanted in a voice assistant -- more local actions. I really hope this is a big focus for Samsung. The company has said that its ultimate aim is to allow you to do anything with your voice that you might normally do using touch input. That aim is potentially a bridge too far, but the intention is great. 

This can start with basic things that we already see to an extent in other voice assistants like turning on or off the WiFi or Bluetooth, but Samsung has already stated features like being able send a message to a friend that includes the photo you're looking at or the website you're visiting. That's a nice next step, but imagine more app specific options, like using voice commands to tell your browser to bookmark a page or save it to Pocket; after taking a picture saying something like "share this on Instagram and apply the Mayfair filter; or, ask your phone to open your to-do app of choice and read your items for the day (meaning you aren't locked in to whatever app works with a specific voice assistant. 

The options are endless. Sure, not everything needs a voice command; sometimes it's easy enough to use touch input for whatever you want to do. But, if done right, this is likely the next big push for all voice assistants and Samsung is getting out of the gate first with Bixby... or at least it's trying to. 

Success could be failure

There needs to be a big caveat with Bixby right off the bat, because Samsung may have jumped the gun on the announcement. Samsung has already said that Bixby will not be fully featured when it launches alongside the Galaxy S8 later this month, but there are also rumors that Bixby might not even be ready at all by then and may end up delayed. To be fair, this is a common tactic from Samsung: announce something way early so even if you can't ship on time, you're on record saying, "We're doing this first." Obviously, this action works best when you can actually ship the product you're promising, but Samsung may already smell the blood in the water for Bixby. 

It seems a bit crazy to assume Apple and Google aren't already working on features for Siri and Google Assistant respectively that will do exactly what Bixby is claiming it will eventually be able to in terms of local device control. So, this well might be a scenario where the best Samsung could do is say, "We announced it first." We don't know a lot about the plans for iOS 11 or Android O, but we'll find out plenty at Google I/O in May and Apple's WWDC in June, so Samsung had to announce Bixby as soon as it could. 

That said, I really do hope Samsung can pull it off and release a quality feature set with Bixby in a relatively short time. I want to see Samsung succeed because it's always more fun with three big competitors rather than just two (or four and three if Amazon's Alexa successfully transitions to smartphones.) And, if Bixby can successfully lead the way, it will push Apple and Google to move faster with their own plans and that may be big trouble for Samsung. 

Unfortunately, whichever way this unfolds -- Bixby never living up to the hype or Bixby being a success -- better full device controls through voice are probably close to "inevitable" on the likelihood spectrum, and because of that I'm not sure if Bixby can survive the competition with Apple and Google. 


Bixby has the opportunity to fundamentally change how we use our smartphones and that's a big deal. We may not have the reasons to fully believe that Samsung can pull it off, but there is hope. Let's not forget that Samsung also now has the talent behind Viv in-house and that team (reportedly) hasn't even begun adding its own work to Bixby's capabilities. Samsung really wants to prove itself on the software side, and it's got the cash to make a good run at it. 

But, regardless of how Bixby turns out, Samsung could get credit for kickstarting the push to add more local actions to voice assistants on smartphones. In the future, it's unclear whether or not you'll ever ask Bixby to open the IdiotsFightingThings subreddit in your favorite reddit app, but you'll undoubtedly be asking Siri or Google Assistant to do something like that. 



1. fyah_king unregistered

I hope iPhone dies quickly!:)

2. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You need serious help... and a job.

8. fyah_king unregistered

Why would I need a job when I am rich with my Apple stocks? I am happily retired since I was 21 years old.:) That's a big effing thanks to you sheep!! Ahahaha! I am living the good life and not even close to 30 yet.:)

13. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

@fyah_king if you are rich and happy thanks to Apple stocks, why do you wish for iPhones to die quickly?

30. darkkjedii

Posts: 31599; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

LMAOOOOO got em.

31. southernzombie

Posts: 358; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

because he is a special kind of stupid IF (and its a big if) he isn't lying to begin with.

14. maherk

Posts: 7013; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You're an Apple stock holder yet you wish Apple dies? Yeah right! Most likely you was dropped from your school bus and still have few years left till you get out of your parents' place.

32. darkkjedii

Posts: 31599; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

He's lying his ass off.

19. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Right... Scratch the job portion then. What you really need is psychiatric attention, immediately.

58. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

Thats what Techie needs, super badly. Should look at all his rantings in the article about samsung gaining the lead in sales again. He pretty much said the same thing in 5 different essays. Literally repeated the same crap over and over. He's rabid.

29. darkkjedii

Posts: 31599; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Mmmhmm lol

34. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Mirrored my exact thoughts. Never seen delusions of prosperity followed by wanton self harm before. Odd combo if you ask me.

40. darkkjedii

Posts: 31599; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Very odd indeed lol. He's vanished since that comment. Let's see what his comeback lie will be.

54. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Cool, your story means less to us than the dump I just took

56. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hahaha online everybody is handsome and rich hahaha. Do you own a unicorn as well?

69. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Same here brosephine. I was born as a prince of Zamunda and living the good life. Who needs a job when you are rich? Ahahaha!

78. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMFAO You really think anyone believes you.

94. Android_Lollipop

Posts: 155; Member since: May 05, 2015

if you own Apple stocks, why would you even hope iPhone to die quickly?!

16. SleeperOne

Posts: 370; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

You're not any better, Kiko.

24. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I'm not any better than what? Him? Yeah no...

37. darkkjedii

Posts: 31599; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

@kiko. He got got caught lying lol. Apple stocks made him rich, iPhone is Apples number one product, he hopes iPhone dies quickly. That's about as stupid as me saying, I hope the sun dies tomorrow so that I can live another 40 years.

39. Unordinary unregistered

Or just some pussy

64. Ronan

Posts: 51; Member since: Mar 21, 2017

Says idiot.....

5. lallolu

Posts: 733; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

Stop hating and stop being a fanatic. That is the problem with world right now.

9. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

No, fyah_king... Listen to me very carefully, O' little one... Choices make customers happy, lad... The more choices in the market, the happier the consumers... Would you like it if there was just one smartphone available in the whole world...? Apple, to me, is a necessary evil... Without it, Google would update Android once in a decade... Tell you what, how often did Nokia update its Series-40 and Series-60 OS...? Once in 3 years or so...? I used to have a Nokia N70, and it looked and felt almost exactly like The Nokia 6600 launched almost 3 years ago with barely any functionality advantage over The 6600.. And now, companies are launching new smartphones and Google is launching a newer version of OS every year... Without Apple iPhone, there'd be no Android... And we all would be typing like maniacs on our Qwerty Blackberries or flashing our crazily over-styled Nokias right now... Or perhaps, still snapping Razrs...! Oh well, eh? G'Day!

17. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Apple, to me, is a necessary evil... Without it, Google will update Android once in a decade..." Are you implying that Google updates Android solely because Apple does so regularly with iOS? How much sense does that make? Crazy.

27. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Apparently, you've never heard about 'monopoly', Trojan... Either that, or you didn't trouble yourself to read my whole post... Notably the part about Nokia N70... Perhaps if you could spare a moment of your precious time to fully read my pathetic rant above...? Anyhow, I was a Commerce student and once, my teacher gave me an example of this to better understand government monopoly: This car is by far the most pathetic car you'll ever see in your entire life, and yet it had a production spawn of 30+ years... Why? No competition, lad...! Simple as that...! Oh well, G'Day!

38. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Perhaps if you could spare a moment of your precious time to fully read my pathetic rant above...?" So what are you suggesting? That I waste time in reading your post which you even deem to be "pathetic rant"? Besides, I read your post. I know what a monopoly is... That still does not encredit your claim of Google updating Android just because Apple does so regularly.

46. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Never heard of sarcasm, eh? Anyhow... Well, I can't prove my point unless you've a time machine lying around collecting dust in your basement...!

48. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Well, I can't prove my point unless you've a time machine lying around collecting dust in your basement...!" And neither have you a time machine... So, you can't prove your claim. Crazy.

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