Apple may have kicked off the recent virtual assistant craze with the launch of Siri. But these days Siri has a lot of company: Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant (which might have the least creative name of the bunch).

Soon they’ll be joined by Samsung’s Bixby. We’ve known it was coming for a while. But now Samsung has confirmed that an early version of Bixby will launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone.

@evleaks

Samsung is expected to officially unveil the phone at an event on March 29th and it should start to ship in April. The phone will have Bixby software baked in, along with a dedicated button on the side of the device that lets you activate the service when you don’t want to use a voice command.

Of course, the Galaxy S8 will also run Google Android software, which means that you can use Google’s voice services. But Samsung is hoping Bixby stands out due to its integration with Samsung products and a few additional features including the ability to give you full control over apps that support Bixby.

Once an app is Bixby-enabled, Samsung says anything you could do with touch commands can also be accomplished by voice.

When the Galaxy S8 launches, Samsung says only a “subset of preinstalled applications will be Bixby-enabled,” but the company expects the list to grow… and Samsung will released an SDK to help third-party developers add Bixby support to their software.

It’s the kind of move that would probably be doomed to failure if it were coming from a different company: why would Android app developers add support for a virtual assistant from HTC, Sony, or LG when they could just tap into Google Assistant to enable voice support across a wider range of current and upcoming Android devices?

But Samsung is currently the world’s top smartphone maker, so the company might actually have the clout to pull this off.

On the other hand, Samsung’s past attempts to run its own app store, video store, and other alternative-to-Google features haven’t always been successes. Bixby could go either way.

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4 replies on “Samsung confirms Galaxy S8 will feature Bixby voice assistant”

  1. I’m sure there are lots who doubt it will be carried out to the tastes of American consumers. Plus Bixby is a bad name IMHO.

  2. Herein lies the issue with Samsung devices. Everything they’ve added to Android just manages to slow it down in spite of the powerful hardware the phones are built upon. This is one of the big reasons I switched to iOS – there’s really no reason on earth a $700+ flagship should lag at all and I found out that it really seems to be just Samsung devices. Other flagship devices seem to fly in the face of Samsung phones. Anyway, since I’m kind of dying to switch back to Android, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of real world performance the S8 puts out. While I doubt I’ll pick up another Samsung, it should at least preview what’s coming to the next Pixel phones.

    1. I would be very surprised if anything Samsung adds causes noticeable (additional) lag on flagship phones these days. Did all the reviewer not pick it up?

  3. Bixby? Going for the Jeeves vibe, I guess.

    No doubt Google’s keeping a close eye on all these personalized assistant versions to decide whether to jump into the pool with them. From a marketing POV, it can certainly help, if done right.

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