Samsung's digital assistant Bixby to debut with Galaxy S8 next week


A "handful" of system apps on the phone will be Bixby-enabled, meaning that users will be able to control them with voice commands.

Bixby will also be context-aware, which it needs to be to compete against the current crop of virtual assistants like Google Assistant. Bixby is the proof that Samsung has been "fundamentally and conceptually changing" its attitude toward software, the official press release said.

The last key feature of Bixby will be its tolerance.

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Samsung also said Bixby will know the current context and state of an app to allow users to carry out work in progress. Bixby boasts on three characteristics which set it apart from the competitors - completeness, context awareness, and cognitive tolerance.

"Bixby will be our first step on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone", executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, Injong Rhee, said. "Bixby will be a new intelligent interface on our devices". This makes the interface much more natural and easier to use.

According to InJong Rhee, executive vice president and Head of R&D Software and Services at Samsung, Bixby will essentially be able to control nearly every task that the application is capable of performing using the conventional interface, rather than supporting only a few selected tasks.

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The Galaxy S8 is set to be unveiled at a special event on 29th March in NY.

Samsung says part of its approach with Bixby is reducing friction, to the point that it's actually adding a dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8, which will let you call it with a physical click. As per some of the leaks and rumors so far, in essence, Bixby is a virtual assistant similar to Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's Siri. When needed, the assistant will prompt users for additional information.

The AI agent will be rolled out on Samsung's smartphones initially, but over time the company plans on adding Bixby to all its appliances. At the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of preinstalled applications will be Bixby-enabled. However, Samsung is working on a SDK (software development kit) tool for developers that will allow them to integrate Bixby into their apps too. The more time you spend with Bixby, the better it'll assist you in the future.

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Samsung also says it plans to expand Bixby to all of its connected devices, from smart washing machines to connected TVs, a clear play against Alexa, which is already popping up in a variety of connected devices like robot vacuums and even Ford cars. We do have a bold vision of revolutionizing the human-to-machine interface, but that vision won't be realized overnight.