Last year, Samsung decided to do away with a hefty sum of money (approx. US$ 215 million) in order to acquire a virtual assistant startup called Viv Labs (whose founder helped build Apple’s Siri).
The South Korean company’s intention for the purchase is, primarily, to roll out its very own voice assistant to rival Google’s, which is currently dominating the market, courtesy its Android stronghold.
Of course, Samsung wants its own Tizen OS to fuel its smart IoT appliances, such as Cameras, Smartwatches, and TV sets, and a smart voice assistant is a big piece missing in its smart ecosystem puzzle.
Encountering numerous queries regarding the much awaited Bixby (that is what it is being called) voice assistant, we compiled the answers to all of those in a simple why and what and how format, so that you can get familiar with the same:
What is Samsung Bixby?
The virtual assistant Bixby is Samsung’s answer to the Apple Siri and Google Assistant. It is an artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant that made its debut in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ devices. The Bixby is smart enough to adapt as per task and can maneuver in and around UI in a similar to the way you do with your fingertips.
The uses for the AI platform include computer software for personal information management, mobile and PC apps uses for voice recognition, and software enabling hands-free use of a mobile phone through voice recognition.
Samsung first talked about developing its own ‘assistant’ in November last year, wherein the company also stated that it will be based on the tech acquired after the Viv takeover.
How does Bixby work?
First and foremost, Samsung’s AI assistant will be able to completely control all those devices which are Bixby-enabled. That means, you can cast your phone’s contents on TV just be telling it aloud to Bixby, instantly turn photographs into wallpapers, and quickly place calls by doing the same.
You can do all of it just by pressing the Bixby button and speaking whatever it is you need done.
The Bixby AI assistant is expected to be used in almost all of the native apps that the S8 will carry and update them with a new UI at that. It will be spread system-wide and be better than the S voice and, in all likelihood, replace it altogether.
Due to its system-wise reach, Bixby would also be a great tool for both contextual as well as pictorial searching purposes, also allowing the users to double the camera of the S8 as an OCR tool.
Bixby can also help in easy transactions and payments through simple voice commands, under a feature called the Bixby Pay, which is being said to be under works.
Samsung is also looking into integrating it with third party apps so that the users are able to hail an Uber or order groceries without shifting through separate apps.
As of now, Bixby only supports two languages, which are South Korean and English.
The company has also made available something called ‘Bixby Home’, that allows even those users access to the AI assistant, who don’t yet have the service in their country.
Accessible just through a leftward swipe on the homescreen, it serves many a purpose, that include getting you reminders on the basis of things you often do on your phone as well as the weather and news.
How is it different from the other AI assistants?
In a feature that would separate it from the likes of Siri, Cortana, et al, Bixby would cease to be just another AI restricted to smartphones and will also work with appliances that users frequently interact with, going as far as doubling up as a remote control for some of them.
The AI platform would cater to multiple language options and is comes in with a Bixby Speaker to allow the users to cue up music, and ask basic questions or at least search the web using voice commands.
Will Bixby be available on the existing Samsung Smartphones?
As mentioned, the company has sought to include it in the Galaxy S8 smartphone, and accompanied the same when it came out in Samsung’s Unpacked event.
The company is planning on making it available to all of its devices but that plan seems a bit too far-fetched to come true, as of yet.