When Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 and S8+ last week, it unveiled that one of its main features would be a new artificially intelligent assistant called Bixby. Bixby is designed to loosen reliance on Google’s Now AI and compete with Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana AIs. But Samsung envisions Bixby going much further than smartphones. It aims to eventually have Bixby incorporated into all Samsung devices, from tablets to refrigerators. But just what can Bixby do? And where did it come from? Here’s everything you need to know.
Samsung Bixby: What Is It?
Bixby is Samsung’s new virtual assistant. Here’s how Samsung describes it: “This is Bixby. A completely new way to use your Galaxy S8 or S8+. You can use voice, text, or touch to say what you need since it understands all three. When you’re lost for words, open the camera and Bixby will search for you. It’s integrated into every aspect of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, so it’s able to handle the tasks you normally do on your phone and it’s constantly learning your ways so it can get better and better.”
So the short answer: Bixby is Samsung’s Siri (or Google Now or Cortana).
Samsung Bixby: Where Did It Come From?
Bixby was actually invented by Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, the team who created Siri before Apple bought it. The team originally called their new personal digital assistant “Viv.” It got a lot of press attention last year because Viv was possibly the first AI that could make not only the keyboard and mouse, but the touchscreen as well, obsolete. That’s when Samsung swooped in and bought Viv and renamed it Bixby.
Samsung Bixby: What Does It Do?
Most AIs like Siri only allow you to interact with it via voice commands, but Bixby actually gives you three different ways to interact: talk, text, and taps. As for taking, Bixby should be a lot better at interacting with you than Siri. That’s because Bixby is contextually aware–it can follow your queries in a conversation as a human would and reply based on the logical extrapolation of not just the most recent query, but the ones that came before.
But Bixby also lets you communicate with it via taps. This is probably best example by opening up the camera app on a supported device and touching an object you see on screen. For example, Samsung says you can focus the camera on a landmark and get suggestions where to go for dinner. Or tap on a pair of shoes someone is wearing and you can see where you can buy them.
Bixby also allows you to translate text on the fly. Point your camera at words in a book or on a sign and have those words translated into your language. Also, Bixby is your personal agenda book. Swipe right on the screen to see your upcoming appointments and events. You’ll also see news stories that interest you.
Samsung Bixby: Where Will It Launch?
While Bixby will ship with all Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones in all regions, Bixby won’t support every language at launch. Samsung has said Bixby will support US English, US Spanish, Korean, and Chinese at launch, with other languages, including UK English, at a later date.
Samsung Bixby: What Devices Does It Support?
Right now Bixby only supports the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. There’s no word if the Samsung Galaxy S7 could get backwards compatible support. But Samsung envisions future devices all supporting Bixby–and not just phones. Samsung is aiming to have Bixby built into all of its devices, from televisions to air conditioners to refrigerators.
Samsung Bixby: When Can I Get It?
Bixby will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ when they ship later this month.