Samsung officially announces Bixby virtual assistant powered by Artificial Assistant

If you are not aware, Bixby is the result of Samsung acquiring Viv a year ago - an intelligent personal assistant software founded by the people who actually built Apple's Siri back then. At the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of preinstalled applications will be Bixby-enabled. Since it relies on dedicated hardware, it will not work with existing Samsung Galaxy phones. Samsung says it will release an SDK to allow third-party developers to integrate Bixby into their own applications. But analysts have been expecting a more sophisticated AI on Samsung phones since a year ago when the company bought Viv, which was founded by Siri's original creators.

Unlike AI assistants from Apple, Google, and Alexa, Samsung says Bixby won't just be a voice answering questions.

Bixby takes advantage of this integration to gain a thorough understanding of how users interact with their devices. The move also threatens to confuse users even more, now that all Android phones are getting Google's own Google Assistant.

Second, Samsung says Bixby will be aware of what a user is doing on their device when the call the assistant up, which means Bixby will understand exactly what a user was doing with their app, and be able to take over the work flow at whatever point they've left off using touch or something else. Bixby can gather context and will try to understand what is going on the screen and provide help accordingly. Indeed, the company has gone on to state that Bixby is fundamentally different from its peers and comes packed with a slew of features that make it that much more capable.

Finally, Samsung says that Bixby is created to be very flexible in terms of its acceptance of a range of voice commands, meaning you won't have to memorize very specific orders like you do with Alexa, for example.

Bixby also won't be relegated to adhering to stringent voice command structures, and will be able to interpret voice commands based on incomplete information. Essentially, it will use natural language for interaction and only ask for more information if it absolutely crucial. This, Samsung believes, will "allow users to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application, whichever they feel is most comfortable and intuitive".

Samsung officially announced the details of its new voice assistant 'Bixby" in a press release earlier today, describing the product as a "new intelligent interface'. Nearly everything that the user can do via touch, Bixby will be able to do as well. Instead, it's built to improve your current experience across various devices, namely your phone, TV, and even air conditioner.

Debuted on Monday, Bixby isn't just another friendly voice, according to InJong Rhee, head of R&D at Samsung's software and services division. By focusing on phone functions, Bixby could actually end up being more useful than Siri or Google Assistant, especially if it bakes that functionality deep into the interface and expands it to its line of Gear watches.

  • Arturo Norris