Samsung announces the Galaxy S8’s Bixby AI assistant and its ambitions for the platform

Thanks to the absolute deluge of leaks for the Galaxy S8, we’ve known for a while that Samsung intended to launch its own AI assistant with its latest flagship smartphone on March 29th. We’ve even ‘known‘ that Samsung had named its assistant ‘Bixby‘. Today, the Korean handset maker has made it official; and while Bixby will indeed launch with the Galaxy S8, the company has huge plans for the assistant that will, it hopes, eventually encompass most or all the devices it manufactures. Join us after the break for more details on Bixby.

So…what is Bixby? Well, Samsung says that Bixby will offer a deeper experience than its competitors (Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri) thanks to its artificial intelligence and deep learning that adapts to the user, as opposed to having the user adapt to the assistant. The following three qualities are what Samsung says will set Bixby apart from its competitors:

Completeness

In basic terms, this means that Bixby should be able to complete any command, in almost any situation. This means that whatever task a Bixby-enabled app is capable of performing, the user should be able to command Bixby to perform any supported task.

Context Awareness

Basically, regardless of whether you use the dedicated button or issue a voice command, Bixby will understand the context and not cause the user to have to restart the task from scratch. In Samsung’s words this means:

“Users will be able to call upon Bixby at any time and it will understand the current context and state of the application and will allow users to carry out the current work-in-progress continuously.”

Cognitive Tolerance

Bixby will be able to understand incomplete sentences, either executing the command as best it can or asking the user to give more information. Instead of trying to imitate a robot with your speech, Bixby should extrapolate the command from what you have said, even if it wasn’t the most complete sentence you’ve ever muttered.

Samsung has stated that when it launches with the Galaxy S8 later this month, Bixby will not be the finished article. It will instead only come with a limited selection of commands and abilities. Just like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, Bixby will learn new tricks along the way.

So how big are Samsung’s ambitions for Bixby? Well, the company says it has “thousands of software developers” working on Bixby for devices ranging from smartphones, televisions, and even air conditioners.

“Innovating in software and services enables opportunities for creativity and the ability to build new experiences from the ground up.  With the continued investment from Samsung on artificial intelligence, the possibility of what Bixby can become is endless.”

As you can probably surmise, Samsung is betting big on Bixby and its potential to countenance the proliferation of Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. While Samsung’s ambition with Bixby is commendable and exciting, its late entry could be a huge disadvantage. The Galaxy S8 and the huge numbers that the handset is expected to sell in 2017 could help propel Bixby into millions of homes, however, and that is where Samsung could make up some of the ground on its competitors.

What do you think of Bixby? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Samsung


About the Author: Peter Holden

He's been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Huawei P10 and a Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he's an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).