Bixby is real, and it's ready to make your Samsung devices smarter in the very near future. In a new press release, Samsung gave the scoop on its long-rumored virtual assistant that's launching with the Galaxy S8, and detailed how it will differ from heavy hitters such as Siri and Alexa.
The Galaxy S8 will have a dedicated Bixby button. Credit: Phone Arena
According to Samsung, Bixby will stand out from the AI pack in three key categories: completeness, context awareness and cognitive tolerance. All three of these features are designed to make talking to Bixby feel natural, eliminating the learning curve that sometimes comes with voice assistants.
The company claims that Bixby will be able to control virtually any task that a Bixby-enabled app is capable of, meaning that anything you can do with your fingers, you should be able to do with your voice. In terms of context awareness, Bixby is designed to let you switch between touch and voice controls seamlessly. For example, you might open your contacts app with your fingers and use Bixby to make a call, or start a text note with Bixby and finish it by hand.
Finally, Bixby's cognitive tolerance should allow you to talk to your Samsung smartphone or tablet without having to remember specific voice commands. According to Samsung, Bixby will be advanced enough to "understand commands with incomplete information," meaning you should be able to use it to open your email with natural language, regardless of what the "official" voice command is.
Samsung also talked about the Galaxy S8's dedicated Bixby button, which the company claims will allow you to instantly perform voice commands without unlocking the phone and manually opening apps.
The Galaxy S8 will debut with a subset of Bixby-ready apps when it arrives next month, but Samsung didn't specify which ones will support the virtual assistant. The company says that the roster of Bixby-ready apps will expand over time, and that third-party developers will eventually have access to it.
Bixby will eventually make its way to all of Samsung's appliances, allowing you to control everything from air conditioners to TVs using the assistant. According to Samsung, "as long as a device has an internet connection and simply circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby."