Launched with great fanfare alongside the Galaxy S8 and S8+ early last year, Bixby wasn’t exactly an instant hit, irking high-end smartphone users with a dedicated, non-customizable button and extremely slow progress.
Samsung appeared to lag many years behind heated competition from the likes of Alexa, Cortana and especially Google Assistant, although the latter AI agent only made its own public debut back in the summer of 2016.
Vaguely previewed last fall, Bixby 2.0 was for some reason not ready for primetime this spring. Instead, the Galaxy Note 9 has just been confirmed by Samsung Research’s AI Center supervisor, Gray G. Lee, as the one that will help the second-gen virtual assistant fulfill its destiny.
In a few months, a bunch of new Bixby 2.0 features, including “enhanced natural language processes, improved noise resistance capability and quicker response times”, will be introduced with the Note 9, presumably before expanding to many other Galaxy phones. And a long overdue smart speaker. And TVs, and refrigerators, and washing machines, and ovens, and robot cleaners.
Basically, Samsung wants Bixby to bring the company’s IoT products closer together, helping solve every mundane household task by recognizing the user’s voice and acting in accordance with your wishes. As Co-Ceo Kim Hyun-Suk puts it, “with Bixby, users will feel that Samsung’s products and services have become stronger.”
Unfortunately, we may have to wait a couple more years before the digital assistant will become capable of supporting and uniting Samsung’s entire IoT product portfolio. Until then, a little added mobile convenience would be nice.