Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be launching in a few weeks. But when they'll do, they won't have a feature Samsung has already confirmed for later this year.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday (Feb. 26), Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh told reporters that his company will launch its Bixby 2.0 virtual personal assistant platform with the Galaxy Note 9 later this year. According to SamMobile, which earlier reported on Koh's comments, the Samsung mobile chief said that his company is currently testing Bixby 2.0 with approximately 800 partners.
Samsung actually unveiled Bixby 2.0 late last year. The company said at the time that Bixby would represent a "bold reinvention" of the virtual personal assistant and make for a more intelligent experience across the board. While Samsung has been tight-lipped about the plans, the company confirmed at Mobile World Congress this week that Bixby 2.0 will include integration with a variety of apps and services, according to SamMobile.
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Additionally, Samsung executive vice president Eui-Suk Chung told reporters that Bixby will include the ability to recognize individual voices. That means more than one person will be capable of interacting with the virtual assistant and it can intelligently respond based on that person's preferences.
The news is likely welcome among Samsung users that have used Bixby in the Galaxy S8 line and Galaxy Note 8. While Samsung has acknowledged that the first-generation Bixby has some work to do and even offered some updates in the Galaxy S9, like real-time language translation, it's still far behind the market's leader, Amazon Alexa. Integrating it into other apps and services, however, could be a major leap forward.
Although Samsung won't initially offer Bixby 2.0 in the Galaxy S9 that's slated to launch on March 16, that doesn't mean it won't come to the handset. Samsung could unveil Bixby 2.0 with the Galaxy Note 9 and then make it available to Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in a software update sometime after. It's a move Samsung typically makes to keep its two flagship lines updated, and will likely continue in 2018.