Samsung hints at AI upgrades to Bixby and S Pen post-Unpacked — what you need to know

Samsung Unpacked 2023
(Image credit: Samsung/Tom's Guide)

Samsung Galaxy Unpacked may have been mostly about Samsung’s new phones, but the shadow of ChatGPT still managed to loom over the proceedings. 

As reported by our friends over at TechRadar, Samsung VP and Director of Global Product Planning Junho Park could not escape talking about generative AI at a post-Unpacked roundtable event. And while it certainly wasn’t the focus of Samsung’s latest event, the South Korean company is definitely working on some things behind the scenes. 

Park spoke largely in generalities, referring to products like ChatGPT as “generative AI stuff” but there were a couple of specifics that the Samsung VP touched on — Bixby and S Pen.

Bixby could get a generative AI makeover

Samsung’s voice assistant isn’t necessarily the most popular. I personally ditch it for Google Assistant the second I buy a new Samsung Phone and turn it off anywhere possible. But Park’s post-Unpacked comments hint at Bixby getting generative AI functionality.

“We are deeply developing this generative AI stuff,” said Park. “For example, [speaking through] wireless earbuds is a good way to communicate. It doesn’t require any screen, so it’s a good place for generative AI.”

"Wireless earbuds is a good way to communicate. It doesn’t require any screen, so it’s a good place for generative AI."

Junho Park

Now, of course, this comment likely refers to Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but if you think about how Samsung’s wireless earbuds could be used with generative AI, Bixby quickly jumps to mind. Just ask Samsung’s voice assistant a prompt like you would with ChatGPT or Google Bard and get an answer back right in your ear.

We’re even already seeing Samsung’s competitors work on similar generative AI features. The latest Google app beta shows that Google Assistant could soon use AI to summarize long articles and there’s no reason Bixby Assistant couldn’t do the same. Or even better, maybe Bixby could summarize your unread notifications, giving you an audible glance at what you’ve missed without needing to unlock your phone. 

S Pen: Generative AI ‘magic wand’

galaxy s22 ultra and galaxy z fold 3 laying side by side on table with s pens out

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When pushed for more specific examples of how generative AI could be stuffed into Samsung products, Park did have one more up his sleeve. "Our S Pen is a great tool to create, like a magic wand.”

Now, there are a couple of different directions that Samsung could go here. It could take a more general route — highlighting text and asking for summaries or insights from a generative AI chatbot is an avenue it could go down relatively easily.

But what if it became more of an AI art-generating tool? One real-world example of how this could work is Adobe’s AI Generative Fill. With your S-Pen, you could draw on an area in an existing photo and then have generative AI make edits to that region. It’d be a huge upgrade that gives the S-Pen another competitive edge over a traditional stylus.

Heck, it might even get me to actually use my S-Pen.

Outlook: Samsung is definitely looking at AI, just like everyone else

Aside from these two specifics, Park stated that “There are many things that can initiate generative AI and we’re deeply collaborating [on] how to make a consistent generative AI through [Galaxy] Watch, earbuds, smartphone and tablet. We’re working on tangible [solutions].”

And that is probably the most accurate way to describe the current AI landscape. ChatGPT started such an — unexpected — revolution, that everyone was left scrambling for how to apply generative AI into their existing products. Samsung may be going about it slower than most, but to quote Park “Stay tuned.” It will definitely make its way into Galaxy products eventually.

More from Tom's Guide

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.