Samsung just bought a text-to-speech company to presumably help with its Bixby smart speaker
Samsung clearly needs all the help it can get improving the linguistic skills of an in-house virtual assistant recently rolled out with plenty of pomp but far from enough power and versatility to even justify the presence of a dedicated button on the side of the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
They say Bixby never actually utilized technology acquired from Viv Labs, the creative minds behind Siri, last fall, so once that comes into play, Samsung can finally hope to challenge the likes of Alexa, Cortana or Google Assistant.
There’s even a smart speaker in the pipeline, reportedly, to take on Amazon’s Echo, the Google Home and Apple’s soon-to-be-released HomePod, and among others, a Greek company specialized in text-to-speech technologies may have joined “Project Vega.”
Founded way back in 2006 as a high-tech spin-off of the Institute for Language and Speech Processing of Athena Research Centre, Innoetics has since offered the “leading technology in text to speech that sounds virtually natural”, developing “new languages, new synthetic voices and offering innovative products and services.”
Sounds vague yet exciting, and although Innoetics has mostly dealt with developers and small businesses, sources close to the acquisition believe its “award-winning” applications are “perfectly suited for consumer services.”
For its part, Samsung is obviously dodging questions concerning the specific nature of the takeover, merely stressing how it’s “always exploring ways to deepen our relationships with companies like Innoetics whose technologies present an opportunity to strengthen Samsung’s capabilities.” Namely, Bixby’s capabilities of sounding natural, fluent, expressive and accurate in various languages while better understanding your voice commands. Probably. Possibly. Hopefully.