Here’s everything about Samsung’s newly announced it’s first digital assistant ‘Bixby’ – a new intelligent interface on your devices. Technically, Samsung Bixby is different from other voice agents of assistants in the market.
Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are well known for having their own kind of smart, artificial intelligence equipped digital assistants, and the South Korea-based electronics “Samsung” added into that mix now. Today, the company has officially announced its own spin on the virtual assistant, and it’s calling it Bixby. A digital assistant by Samsung took the wraps off, and although we have not yet seen the software in action, but the company has detailed Samsung Bixby AI Assistant in press in which it presents what it believes makes Bixby different to options from the likes of its competitors.
Samsung’s approach to an AI assistant is a bit different than what you or I might be used to from Siri or Cortana. The answer, according to Samsung’s InJong Rhee, executive vice president and head of R&D for Samsung’s software and services division, is that Bixby will be capable of doing more than of what users would normally do via a smartphone’s touch screen without them needing to lift a finger, beyond pressing the Bixby button on their hardware, of course. Instead of being a database that you fire questions at or tell to do specific things, Bixby is meant to be a helper on your device, to easily make access to accomplish the litany of tasks that modern gadgets such as mobile phones are capable of. A less charitable interpretation might be that Bixby exists to eventually solve one of the most difficult challenges in all of tech: make Samsung’s own poorly designed software and interfaces easier to use.
Bixby digital assistant will first appear on the Galaxy S8, Samsung is expected to announce its new flagship smartphones, Galaxy S8+ included, at an event on March 29th and it is here that we expect that Bixby will be put through its pace on-stage, giving us our first complete glimpse of the latest entry into the fight to bring the world the definitive virtual assistant. If Samsung’s announcement today is anything to go by, the new Galaxy S8/S8+ phones will have a dedicated button to launch the assistant, but Samsung says that its initial capabilities will be limited to a handful of preinstalled apps, with other added over time. Moreover, it will also be limited to just English and Korean languages at first, though there are plans to add other speeches such as Chinese and US Spanish shortly after launch. Hopes are high then.
“When an application becomes Bixby-enabled, Bixby will be able to support almost every task that the application is capable of performing using the conventional interface (ie. touch commands). Most existing agents currently support only a few selected tasks for an application and therefore confuse users about what works or what doesn’t work by voice command. The completeness property of Bixby will simplify user education on the capability of the agent, making the behaviors of the agent much more predictable.”
Beyond that, if Bixby requires more information than the user has given it in order to fulfill a task, Samsung’s assistant will prompt the user instead of simply giving up. Samsung calls this “cognitive tolerance,” and if it works as it is suggested to, this claim alone could make Bixby an interesting proposition. Samsung isn’t just providing specifics on how exactly it will work on the phone, but in a blog post announcing the service, it says:
“When using a Bixby-enabled application, users will be able to call upon Bixby at any time and it will understand the current context and state of the application and will allow users to carry out the current work-in-progress continuously.”
The aforementioned words to say that Samsung Bixby will know what you’re looking at on your screen and provide options to take action on what’s there.
How exactly Bixby is different from Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and others without using it is in question. Dr. Injong Rhee says it’s “philosophically different from other agents,” and its purpose is to “change user behavior from just using touch commands.” Bixby is not what you’ll see when you want to check the weather, convert 48 ounces to cups, or find out how old Jake Gyllenhaal is, but nevertheless, it can help you send the picture you’re looking at in your phone’s gallery app to your family without having to switch apps or type them contact info in. Bixby is an intelligent user interface, and is capable of developing a new interface to your devices, or devices that are going to host Bixby. It’s designed to let you seamlessly switch between voice commands and touch interfaces, and help you along various steps of your tasks.
Most agents require users to state the exact commands in a set of fixed forms. Bixby will be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge, and then will prompt users to provide more information and take the execution of the task in piecemeal.
Allegedly leaked Samsung Galaxy S8 render
A handful of Bixby-ready apps are expected to debut during the Galaxy S8 launch event at the end of this month, and Samsung will be making an SDK available so that developers can add Bixby support to their created apps. You should buy an Galaxy S8 if you really care about Samsung Bixby to get out of tech. It is this buy-in form from developers that will be key in whether the assistant will be able to get a foothold, but with Samsung being the biggest player in town, if anyone can get developers to add support to their apps, then Samsung Bixby can.
Stay tuned for more! As we’ll find out just how good Samsung Bixby’s first impressions are in a matter of weeks when the Galaxy S8 debuts.
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