We exclusively reported a long time back that the Galaxy S8 is going to feature a virtual assistant called Bixby which will be more capable than the likes of Siri and Cortana. Samsung has officially confirmed this artificial intelligence-powered smart assistant today.
The core philosophy that drove Samsung to develop Bixby is to have a machine learn and adapt to the user instead of users having to learn how the machine works and interacts with the world.
The interface had to be natural and intuitive enough to eliminate the learning curve even when new functions are added to it rapidly. Samsung employed artificial intelligence and reinforced deep learning concepts to the core of its user interface designs and Bixby is the result of that ongoing effort.
Samsung confirms that Bixby is going to be its new intelligent interface on its devices and that it’s fundamentally different from other voice assistants available currently. The company points out three areas of strength that give Bixby an edge over its rivals.
It describes one of them as “Completeness.” When an app is Bixby-enabled, the assistant will be able to carry out almost every task via voice commands that the app is capable of performing via touch input. Since most voice assistants only support selected tasks for an app this can often lead to confusion about what can and can’t be done with voice commands. Samsung says that this completeness property of Bixby will make it very easy for users to learn the true capabilities of the voice assistant.
Bixby is also going to have Context Awareness. When users are in a Bixby-enabled app, they will be able to call upon the assistant at any time and it will automatically understand the current context and state of the app. It will enable users to use multiple modes of interactions like touch or voice depending on the context and whichever the users feel is more comfortable.
Cognitive Tolerance is also one of Bixby’s strengths. Some users might struggle to remember the exact form of voice commands as the number of supported voice commands increases. Bixby is said to be smart enough to understand commands that have incomplete information and will be able to execute the relevant task to the best of its knowledge. It will then prompt users to provide more information as and when required. Samsung says that this makes the interface more natural and easier to use.
Samsung has confirmed today that Bixby will debut with the Galaxy S8. The new flagship is going to come with several Bixby-enabled apps pre-installed. The number of Bixby-enabled apps will expand over time and Samsung eventually plans to release an SDK which will enable third-party developers to make their own apps that work with Bixby.
The company also confirmed that its next device – which we all know to be the Galaxy S8 – is going to have a dedicated Bixby button that’s going to be located on the side. This will make it easy to summon the assistant and make voice commands. For example, if you want to make a call, instead of having to turn on the display, unlock the phone, opening the phone app and then the contacts section to find the person you want to call, you just need to press the Bixby button and tell it to dial the person.
Samsung added that it will gradually add Bixby to all of its appliances as well. Users will be able to control their air conditioner or TV through Bixby in the future. As it will be implemented in the cloud, all a Samsung device needs to work with Bixby is an internet connection and “simple circuitry to receive voice inputs.”
Samsung will talk more about the many features of Bixby in detail on March 29 when it unveils the Galaxy S8.