After several months of delays, Bixby, Samsung’s take on the digital assistant, is now available in the United States.
Prior to the launch of the Galaxy S8, Samsung spent a lot of time and effort convincing users that Bixby would be the next big thing in digital assistants. The S8 even features a dedicated Bixby button that, despite some users best efforts, cannot be remapped. Bixby, however, still shipped with one glaring flaw — the English-language voice aspects of Bixby didn’t launch with the device. Initially, the voice features were only available in Samsung’s home country of South Korea.
Samsung said that the English-language features were delayed due to the need to do more testing. The company missed Bixby’s original deadline of late spring but the delays gave them plenty of time to let consumers test Bixby in the real world. Overall, more than 100,000 S8 devices were enrolled in the Bixby early access program and generated more than 4 million commands. One area in which Bixby’s extensive testing does appear to have paid off is in the diversity of phrasing it allows. Samsung has also boasted about Bixby’s hands-free capabilities citing the example of users being able to have Bixby read their email.
Bixby vs. Siri And Google Assistant
Samsung said that they believe that artificial intelligence is the next major innovation in computing and Bixby is the fruits of its efforts in that field. Bixby initial launch has been met with some mixed reviews. On the whole, the software appears to be an acceptable alternative to the likes of Siri or Google Assistant. But some users, including the Verge’s Dan Seifert, have noted that it can be intrusive. The inclusion of a physical button is a prime example of this. Since this button cannot be remapped, those who do not want to use Bixby have a wasted button taking up space on their S8.
Moving past those complaints, one area in which Bixby does differentiate itself from the competition is Samsung’s focus on using the software as a means to control the S8 itself. We’re unsure of how many users will find it more convenient to give commands to Bixby rather than simply pressing a few buttons, but, intrusiveness aside, Bixby does appear to be a decent digital assistant
The English-language variant of Bixby is currently available in the United States and South Korea. Samsung has not announced a date for other countries.