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Meet Bixby, Samsung’s brand new voice-powered virtual assistant

Samsung
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Apple has one, Microsoft has one, even as Google as one. However, the world’s largest smart manufacturer Samsung has been somewhat lacking in this regard. Not any longer though. The company is upping its antics and has announced a brand new intelligent interface called Bixby. 

The South Korean smartphone manufacturer has some seriously high hopes of its virtual agent. Indeed, the company has gone on to state that Bixby is fundamentally different from its peers and comes packed with a slew of features that make it that much more capable. And when you stop to consider the fact that it is widely touted to be a product of Viv, its quite likely to be capable.

In case you feel like you are missing out on something here, Viv is an AI assistant that was created by the very same team that also built Siri before the latter was acquired by Apple. Samsung acquired Viv last year and then developed Bixby in-house. The company is now set to launch the assistant later this month and we are all fired up to see what form it takes. The company couldn’t contain its excitement though and it announced the new interface/assistant through a blog post and a series of tweets.

As per tweets by Phil Bixby (I am working on deciphering the relationship, hang on):

Bixby is not Alexa, or Siri. It’s an interface. It’s meant to everything you could possibly do by touch, but with voice.

The tweets also touched upon the fact that the voice assistant was home grown.

One last thing, the Viv acquisition happened a bit late to incorporate into Bixby. Amazingly, everything you’ll see this month is homegrown.

The company also stressed upon the fact that Bixby was complete. Complete as in once Bixby supports a particular application, it will allow you to access all of that particular app’s features and functions through voice alone. This is in contrast to how most other voice assistant only offer selective functions for each application.

The assistant/interface will also be very aware of what a person was doing on their smartphones in the moments before they called it up. This again is a unique approach taken by Samsung and will allow the virtual assistant to take over the job from wherever the user has let off at the moment of calling the assistant up.

Most existing agents completely dictate the interaction modality and, when switching among the modes, may either start the entire task over again, losing all the work in progress, or simply not understand the user’s intention.

Next up is the fact that you won’t have to rote learn commands. If it doesn’t understand something, it will ask you for additional information until it can finally get a grasp on what is happening around the place.

Samsung really believes that it has embarked upon a solution with Bixby. The company also announced that it will be adding a dedicated button to its next smartphone that could be used to call upon Bixby. This is as opposed to how Google and Apple need you to long press buttons in order to call their respective virtual assistants.

The company has grand plans for the interface as well and plans to expand its range of offerings to include other devices as well.

Starting with our smartphones, Bixby will be gradually applied to all our appliances. In the future you would be able to control your air conditioner or TV through Bixby. Since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, as long as a device has an internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby. As the Bixby ecosystem grows, we believe Bixby will evolve from a smartphone interface to an interface for your life.

The company will be releasing more information around the same alongside the release of its S8 flagship device. The company also plans to eventually release a tool to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services Bixby-enabled.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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