If you have been using Samsung devices for long enough, you may remember S Voice. It was a voice assistant available on Samsung devices long before Bixby. The company never really built it up to any meaningful potential but it sort of hung around for many years and then just disappeared after Bixby.
That's why Samsung's decision to discontinue S Voice doesn't come as a surprise. We're told that the company has decided to discontinue its old S Voice virtual assistant on June 1, 2020.
S Voice bites the dust on June 1, 2020
S Voice wasn't a conversational virtual assistant like Bixby or Google Assistant. It could, however, perform a variety of tasks in response to voice commands. You had to launch the app and then give commands like “Call Andy Samuel” or “Remind me to call the doctor at 9 am today,” etc. It could also launch navigation apps with directions to the desired location, tell the time, run an internet search and more.
This assistant was then confined to history when Samsung launched Bixby with the Galaxy S8. It was a much more capable assistant even though many still believe that even version 2.0 can't hold a candle to the likes of Siri and Google Assistant, but that's a debate for another day. Bixby's launch had sealed S Voice's fate as it obviously didn't make sense for Samsung to support two similar features.
Samsung has thus decided to discontinue S Voice from June 1, 2020. If you try using the assistant after that, it will return the “I'm unable to process your request. Try again later” message. If you have a fairly recent Samsung phone then this change need not concern you as Samsung hasn't shipped S Voice on new devices for a few years now.
The affected models that have the S Voice icon on the app screen include the Galaxy A3, A5, A7, A8, A9, Galaxy Note FE, Galaxy Note 2, 3, 4, 5, Galaxy S3, 4, S5, S6, S6 edge in addition to the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Galaxy W, Galaxy Tab 4, Galaxy Tab 4 8.0/10.1, Galaxy Tab S8.4 and S10.5.
The discontinuation of S Voice won't affect how those who own these devices use them. S Voice wasn't really popular in its day so there's likely not a lot of people using it anyway. A viable alternative on some of these devices for users who would like to use a digital assistant will be the Google Assistant. Bixby isn't a standalone service so unless you're planning on upgrading your device, you'll have to stick with the alternative from Google.