Samsung has announced Bixby, a new way to interact with your phone (and a whole load more devices in the future), and the firm’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant.
Bixby will feature in the Samsung Galaxy S8 (and we assume the Galaxy S8 Plus too) – which will launch on March 29 – but the assistant won’t be exclusive to these handsets.
Samsung is promising a seamless and intuitive experience with Bixby, something different to the solutions already on the market.
It aims to reduce the amount of friction users have with voice commands, and forcing fewer people to revert back to using the touch screen controls.
The announcement also revealed that the new Galaxy S8 will feature a dedicated Bixby button, allowing you to launch the assistant at any point and saving you precious seconds with each use.
That’s all well and good, but until we can put Samsung Bixby through its paces we’re not jumping to any conclusions – especially as its potential won’t be fully realized at launch.
Only the first step
Bixby is still a work in progress, with Samsung stating “Bixby will be our first step on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone.
“At the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of pre-installed applications will be Bixby-enabled. This set will continue to expand over time.”
That means Bixby could be rather limited at first, which may make it a harder to convince consumers of its use as they’ll be hoping for a feature-packed offering such as Amazon’s Alexa on the Echo and Echo Dot.
All is not lost though, as Samsung states “our plan is to eventually release a tool (in SDK) to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services Bixby-enabled easily,” but that could take a while to come to fruition.
No “Bixby, play Megadeath on Spotify” or “Bixby, turn on my living room lights” for now then.
As the Samsung Galaxy S8 will run Android, Samsung also has Google’s Assistant at its disposal, which itself offers a similar service to rival the likes of Siri, Alexa and now Bixby.
It’s odd that Samsung’s seen fit to still develop its own offering, but that could well play into its hands when it comes to applying Bixby to its other range of appliances.
Samsung says Bixby will find its way into a whole host of appliances, from air conditioners to TVs, in the future – basically your whole home could be Bixby enabled, if you’re willing to give yourself to Samsung.