Voice support for Samsung's Bixby lands in the US
The voice component of Bixby, Samsung's shiny new virtual assistant, is ready to make its smartphone debut with the company rolling out the feature to Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners in the US today.
Samsung touts Bixby as more complete and contextually aware than other virtual assistants, such as Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. It can be fired up by either the dedicated Bixby button on the side of the device or by saying "Hi Bixby."
From there, users can control simple commands by voice, such as flicking on the phone's flashlight, grabbing a screenshot or snapping a selfie. But it can also handle more complicated tasks, such as building an album of all the photos taken within the last week, labeling it "Vacation" and then sharing it with friends over social networks.
Bixby will be integrated with a number of core Samsung apps at launch, along with a few third-party apps such as Google Maps, YouTube and Facebook. Samsung says over time, the assistant will get to know your routine, and using deep learning, become more accustomed to the user's voice and therefore more helpful.
Samsung has also offered a few video examples of Bixby in action, where it does seem to respond rather well to natural phrases like "what will the weather be like in San Francisco today?" and "create an album called nom noms." Promotional videos are one thing, though, and the voices of real-world smartphone users are another.
But the good news is Galaxy S8 and S8+ users can find out for themselves how Bixby fares, with the software update available starting today.
You can check out the promo video below.