The rumors have been confirmed by Samsung themselves: Samsung has developed a virtual assistant of their own, named Bixby.
Bixby will makes its debut with the Galaxy S8 on March 29, with a "Bixby dedicated button" on the side of the new phone.
Samsung senior vice president InJong Rhee stated that the software was built applying a "conceptually new philosophy," which he described as:
[I]nstead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us. The interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs.
But what does all that flowery language actually mean?
Bixby has three specific qualities that Samsung claims will make it unique in a crowded marketplace.
- There will be "completeness," meaning Bixby will be compatible with all apps and perform the same functions the touchscreen can.
- It will also have "contextual awareness," allowing users to switch between touch and vocal commands seamlessly.
- Finally, the Bixby will feature "cognitive tolerance," having a grasp of incomplete demands, so users will not have to memorize specific phrases to complete a task.
While the Bixby concept sounds good in theory, it is rumored to be based off the mildly unsuccessful S Voice, so temper your expectations. Hopefully Samsung's acquisition of Viv last year, a voice assistant company founded by the creators of Siri, will have improved the voice assistant's utility.