Galaxy S8's Killer Feature Now in Doubt

Of the many Galaxy S8 rumors floating around, the possibility of Samsung's next smartphone packing a virtual assistant that can take down Siri is one of the most exciting. However, that news may be too good to be true, as a new report out of Korea suggests that Samsung may be prohibited from putting its own AI in its phones due to a patent dispute with Google.

Citing industry sources, Business Korea states that Samsung and Google signed a patent-sharing agreement in 2014 in which the two company's services are not to compete with one another. Google just launched its own robust artificial intelligence called Google Assistant on such devices as the Google Pixel and Google Home, so a similar service from Samsung could violate this supposed agreement.

Earlier this year Samsung acquired artificial intelligence company Viv Labs, and confirmed that it's working on a virtual assistant solution that could take on Siri and Alexa by working seamlessly with third-party apps. The Galaxy S8 is rumored to have two distinct virtual assistants -- dubbed Bixby and Kestra -- which, collectively, would offer the types of voice controls you'd find on an iPhone or Google Pixel while going even further. One rumored feature is the ability to send money to anyone using just your voice.

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The Galaxy S8 losing its built-in virtual assistant would be a big blow against the much-anticipated phone, especially as Samsung battles to regain customer trust after the Galaxy Note 7 fire fiasco and recall. However, there are still plenty of reasons to look forward to Samsung's next flagship.

The S8 is expected to arrive with a sharp dual-lens camera and vastly improved processors, and could tout a stunning, nearly all-screen design that would make the S7 Edge look modest. Other rumored specs include a 4K display, a larger screen size and the removal of the headphone jack.

Samsung typically unveils its new flagship every year at Mobile World Congress in February, though a recent report suggests that the company may instead opt to host a standalone event for the Galaxy S8 in April. Either way we're only months from Samsung's next big launch, so stay tuned for updates.