Samsung is gearing up for war against the upcoming iPhone 8, and it has identified a plan of attack that exposes what has been a major weakness for Apple. But it looks like Samsung's flagship may be launching much later than usual.
According to Reuters, the Galaxy S8 will include a new artificial intelligence digital assistant, which will leverage Samsung's acquisition of Viv Labs. The company was run by Siri's co-creator, Dag Kittlaus.
While Apple's Siri works with just a handful of third-party applications and services, Rhee Injong, Samsung's executive voice president, told Reuters that "developers can attach and upload services to our agent." He added that the more services are added, the smarter the agent will get.
The report says that Samsung will also expand its voice assistant services to wearables and home appliances.
Given that Samsung just acquired Viv Labs in early October, it may be a challenge to integrate what it has to offer in time--even for what's expected to be a later-than-usual launch.
I'm skeptical," said Avi Greengart, research director at Current Analysis. "Google has an enormous head start and continually refines its AI with more data as people use it." Greengart also noted that many consumers buy Samsung's Android phones in order to use Google's services and not Samsung's.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Galaxy S8 may have a dedicated button to launch the digital assistant. While the sources cautioned that the prototypes aren't final, the latest versions making the round include a button on the edge of the smartphone.
Unfortunately for those who were hoping for a launch at Mobile World Congress in February, the WSJ also reports that Samsung has pushed the launch of the S8 all the way back to April.
This move makes sense in light of the fact that Samsung still hasn't been able to identify the specific cause for the Galaxy Note 7 fires and recall, which has cost the company more than $5 billion.
With the iPhone 8 not expected to launch until September 2017, Samsung would still have several months to gain some momentum. But with rumors already heating up for Apple's next phone, it will be hard for the S8 to stand out unless the Viv-powered assistant runs circles around Siri.