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Galaxy S8 Will Launch Without Key Feature

Bixby, the digital assistant at the heart of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, promises to let you control a lot of the new smartphones' features with your voice. Unfortunately, when the S8 and S8+ ship on April 21, it doesn't sound as if Bixby is going to be a very good listener.

At least we'll still have Bixby Vision at launch. (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: At least we'll still have Bixby Vision at launch. (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide))

According to a statement from Samsung, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will ship without Bixby's voice control features enabled. Instead, those features will be turned on later via a software update from Samsung.

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Bixby won't be completely powerless when it arrives April 21. The digital assistant's Bixby Vision feature will work, according to Samsung. Bixby Vision taps into the S8's camera to recognize objects and deliver information about them — the price of a book you're looking at, for example, or the rating on a bottle of wine you may be thinking about purchasing.

Samsung says other Bixby features such as Home — a screen with dynamic cards — and Reminders will be operational when the Galaxy S8 ships. In the statement, Samsung also described Bixby as a "service that will evolve over time."

Still, voice control was one of the marquee features touted at the S8's unveiling last month and a way for Samsung to make its digital assistant stand out from the likes of Apple's Siri.

When we had some hands-on time with Bixby last month, Samsung had promised that its assistant would be capable of 15,000 tasks at launch. We were hoping to get more of a chance to forward photos, adjust settings and perform other tasks with a few simple commands, but it appears that we'll have to wait.

Samsung said that the voice control update would arrive later this spring.