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Samsung officially announces Bixby, its new AI assistant

Posted: , by Kaloyan C.

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Samsung officially announces Bixby, its new AI assistant
It feels weird reporting on some new information regarding the upcoming (and very, very leaky) Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ with the source actually being Samsung itself for once. And yet here we are – the Korean giant has just made its new AI assistant, Bixby, official, detailing some of its functionality ahead of the flagship pair's official reveal on March 29.

The announcement's timing is somewhat peculiar, though, as Bixby is supposed to be one of the biggest features of the S8 pair. However, the blog post itself states multiple times that the assistant will not be exclusive to the two new flagships, and the company hopes to eventually bring it to all of its Internet-connected devices:

Starting with our smartphones, Bixby will be gradually applied to all our appliances. In the future you would be able to control your air conditioner or TV through Bixby. Since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, as long as a device has an internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby. As the Bixby ecosystem grows, we believe Bixby will evolve from a smartphone interface to an interface for your life.

Or in other words, Samsung wants to turn every 90's smart home fever dream into reality, which is... a generally terrible idea, we think. Here's hoping this doesn't turn into the plot of the Disney Channel original Smart House. Until then, however, Bixby will be heading to Samsung's new smartphones, and the company claims to have laid the groundwork for an AI experience people will actually use, according to the surprisingly little actual information shared in the otherwise lengthy press release.

Samsung says Bixby will be context-sensitive and feature-complete

From what we've gathered, the assistant will work as follows: provided the user is currently using a Bixby-enabled app, pressing the special-purpose button will bring Bixby to the front, which will then prompt users for a voice or touch command (it's not yet clear whether text commands will be supported), which will be context-sensitive. That is, Bixby will take into account what the user is currently doing when evaluating their commands, like an upgraded version of Google's Now on Tap. Samsung also wants the assistant to be feature-complete, meaning it can do everything an app can do with its conventional interface.

The biggest chunk of the press release, however, is dedicated to the company's desire to make speaking to an AI assistant natural – that is, rather than have users conform to the assistant's limited command vocabulary, Bixby will try to understand what users are asking of it, even when they supply incomplete information. How it plans to do that isn't entirely clear, though – Samsung says Bixby "will prompt users to provide more information and take the execution of the task in piecemeal", but that, as far as we know, is the way pretty much every assistant works nowadays.

The lack of clarity regarding Bixby's features is a little suspicious

So it remains unclear what exactly will be unique about Samsung's new AI, as, at least according to this press release, it doesn't present anything groundbreaking. Apart from the company's desire to achieve feature parity with apps' regular touch interfaces, not much jumps out as particularly revolutionary at the moment (and by the way, that parity will have to be added by app developers, rather that Samsung itself, which makes us really skeptical regarding its future success). In fact, the whole press release lacks much detail, like, say, screenshots and examples, which may be logical if Samsung doesn't want to reveal much about its user interface, but still makes us wonder why the company chose to publish it today –it's not like the S8 doesn't get talked about daily, what with all the leaks.

Samsung also sort of addresses concerns that it won't include Bixby in its new flagships at launch

There has been a lot of excitement and speculation about what we will deliver with the launch of the Galaxy S8 later this month, especially due to the advancements in artificial intelligence. We do have a bold vision of revolutionizing the human-to-machine interface, but that vision won’t be realized overnight. Ambition takes time.

Okay? So does that mean that it won't be included in the S8, or simply that it would suck at launch? Who knows, really: further down, the press release reads: "At the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of preinstalled applications will be Bixby-enabled," which doesn't exactly answer our question, but gives us hope it could be included at the S8's launch. Maybe.

We're still not sure whether Bixby will be available at the S8's launch

What we do know, however, is that no matter Bixby gets released, it won't work with most apps at launch – as per Samsung's own words, apps will need to be specifically Bixby-enabled, and a tool for implementing its functionality will be released in an SDK... eventually. Whether any big-name third-party apps will support it at launch is, you guessed it: currently unknown, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Lastly, the company feels the need to present Bixby as spearheading the company's evolution as a software and services one. This is an interesting approach, especially considering that for most of its Android smartphones' existence, its custom software, perivously known as TouchWiz, has been the golden standard for bloatware among tech enthusiasts. Admittedly, the company has somewhat cleaned up its act with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but it remains to be seen whether shoving a flashy virtual assistant into its flagships won't be seen as the company going back to its old tricks by consumers.

  • Options

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 10:01 7

1. PapaJi (Posts: 44; Member since: 15 May 2016)

AI that makes sense....

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 10:02 1

2. Mreveryphone (Posts: 1263; Member since: 22 Apr 2014)

Well... At least they know that it's still half baked at this point and won't force a buggy Bixby on us...

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 13:36 1

16. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Software is always buggy and forever will be no matter how many times it gets patched.

Don't see what that's a point to bring up though.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 10:23 3

3. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

Itll be behind Siri and Google Assistant. Apple and Google have already had years of data to filter and machine learn everything through hundreds of billions of requests/actions done to Siri/Google Assistant

This will be a glorified S-voice assistant for a while..it should just launch with Google assistant baked in

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 10:36 1

4. John-Knotts (Posts: 343; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)

Google Assistant is still pretty half baked.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 10:45 5

5. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

It's far better then really anything else on the market atm. Noticeably better then Siri

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 11:17

6. Unordinary (unregistered)


posted on 20 Mar 2017, 11:47 1

7. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

Yeah I have seen that and also Marques brownlees video. Google AI still understands context much better then Siri does and screws up less. This is widely accepted by the tech world

It is still better then Siri

I think this year though with iOS 11, Siri will be markedly improved

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 12:53

13. Unordinary (unregistered)

:) true

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 12:55

15. Unordinary (unregistered)

Hopefully, for the sake of all progression as a whole. They're all lacking.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 11:53

8. dimas (Posts: 2511; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

*better than.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 12:39

11. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

Better than yup. *

posted on 21 Mar 2017, 08:10

38. gavilan355 (Posts: 43; Member since: 19 Mar 2015)

Yeah sure, A software that hasnt even come out yet is officially better than siri, because you have tested it many times.. cool story bro

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 13:37

17. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Aren't they all? S-Voice and Siri too!

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 13:43 1

19. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

Yeah don't lump S-voice in the same sentence as Siri nor Google now lol... S-voice is way way behind the 2, S-voice was garbage and did nothing but slow down Galaxy devices and introduce a delay when you pressed the home button. I always have disabled S-voice on Galaxy devices so that the home button works a lot faster instead of having that delay

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 12:33

10. whqhdrbs (Posts: 36; Member since: 12 Feb 2017)

I don't think so, focusing on controlling anything you do on your phone through your voice is different approach, only 6% of people with handset with Ai use Ai
and there are reasons for it, I don't want to ask who the president of the US, I don't want to know weather condition....what I want to do is do what I do with my phone faster and easier....

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 14:17

22. HansP (Posts: 126; Member since: 16 Oct 2011)

You should look up what S Voice and Siri has in common. The truth might shock you.
Yes, Siri is based on the same service that S Voice first started using.
Bixby isn't a thing started from scratch. It's an existing, rebranded and evolved AI, taking advantage of Samsung's superior fast camera sensors and such.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 12:26 3

9. whqhdrbs (Posts: 36; Member since: 12 Feb 2017)

this article is full of hopes of Samsung failing in anything they try to do and belittling touchwiz or any of their SW, why can't you just hope for the best for them? WTF this whole tech media is becoming more and more like Chinese propaganda

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 12:51 3

12. piyath (Posts: 995; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Omg another garbage pile...lol Remember S Voice??? LMAO

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 13:40

18. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

S-Voice works. It's just slow.

Still thumbing up your own posts. You're an idiot dude.

PA needs to fix the big where you can log in from the desktop and thumb up your own comments made on mobile and vice versa.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 13:43

20. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

You can't thumb up your own comment on same account logged in desktop or mobile

And S-voice was garbage, it is okay to admit this

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 15:23 2

24. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Yes you can. If you are on the desktop and log-in, you can thumb up your own post from a different device.

You are wrong!

If I was to create a post on my mobile, I can go to that same post on Windows and open a browser and thumb it up if I wanted too.

I know what I am talking about because several posters alerted me to it and I know for a fact you can.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 15:28 1

25. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

I'm going to prove it to you just to show you, you need to just be quiet when you have no idea what you are talking.

So I made this comment on purpose to show you!

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 15:38

27. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)



Now that I have proved it, you can now be quiet.

There are several posters who who also are on Android Authority.

There are 3 guys here who made me aware of how you can do this.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you could login from a 3rd device and do the same, or maybe even a 4th or 5th. Who knows how many times in theory you can do it.

After all there are several guys here we know as a fact thumb up their own posts. Piyath is one of them. Notice how the vast majority of his posts have always one thumb up?!

So I can bet if I opened one of my Mac Virtual Machines, I could probably go to Safari on it and do it again. But I don't know and I don't plan to find out. I just proved you wrong and that is all that matters to me!

Now that I have shamed you, I am sure you won't be questioning me any longer...will you?

So like I said, PA needs to fix the page where losers who troll can't upvote their own posts.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 16:20

28. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

"page not found" for your link

And I can't like my own comment on mobile or desktop site on same account. So no you can't do it, I just tried it on both desktop and mobile site

You haven't shamed anyone but yourself, you embarass yourself everyday on this site and no one reads your blatantly biased fanboy diatribe rants

Try again mate, your like 0 for 15,000 LOL

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 16:29

29. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

I goofed the link here you go -https://flic.kr/p/RTsC3K

I fixed it.

The previous link didn't work because I removed the video, because it was something else.

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 16:43

31. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

Dude that does not prove anything. You can +1 your own comment on mobile and it won't give back the error on mobile site but it doesn't stay or apply to the comment.. Once you refresh the page it is gone

Your test test comment doesn't have a +1 on it either

"I am the insecure dweeb " yet you write diatribes every day about why your products that you own are the best, you constantly repeat your same nonsense everyday in diatribes, thats the epitome of being insecure LOL. You aren't fooling anyone on here believe me.

Insecure people don't have to constantly defend and try and shove diatribes down other peoples throats everyday

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 16:52

32. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

Actually you know what I can admit i am actually wrong here. I did just try it out on mobile and it stayed. It wasn't always like that though so this must be pretty Recent this bug, I am all about being objective so okay you are right here, this bug is defitnetly fairly new because you used to never be able to do this

For once in your life you are actually right about something, congrats man

But you can't call anyone insecure when you write insecure diatribes everyday repeating yourself, no insecure person does that, let alone a grown man

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 16:57

33. mikehunta727 (Posts: 1051; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)

You mention me "being insecure" yet you get so dam worked up about a troll? on this site up voting himself, who gives a s**t dawg....why does this bother you so much? Why do green little thumbs influence your mental condition so much?

posted on 20 Mar 2017, 19:09

34. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14041; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

It does stay

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