Samsung had to start all over again with Bixby, at least in some key areas. Bixby 2.0 is currently in the beta phase, but should be launched together with the Galaxy Note 9 within a few months. The Korean company has kept an eye on its rival to see what it can improve, as the architecture for the new Bixby version is based on Siri.
The bad news first: the Bixby button remains. The good news is that the second generation Bixby assistant will soon appear. With Bixby 1.0, Samsung was primarily concerned with managing the rollout quickly and on as many devices as possible. Now Bixby has been introduced, and the second generation can focus on more and better features. Samsung had to rebuild fundamental parts of the Bixby framework and Apple's assistant Siri served as a role model. Samsung considers Siri's architecture to be more suitable for the functions that Bixby was supposed to deliver.
One of Bixby's peculiarities is the fact that the Samsung Assistant can intervene more deeply in the system than the Google Assistant. In addition, Samsung attaches great importance to Bixby understanding natural spoken language rather than simply listening for command words. Samsung develops parts of the speech synthesis itself and only makes partial use of external knowledge, such as Nuance. This doesn't necessarily speed up development, but Bixby 2.0 should be able to communicate even better and distinguish between individual speakers.
Bixby is a slow language learner
The fact that Samsung attaches such great importance to natural language and its understanding also ensures that it takes a long time to teach Bixby new spoken languages. For example, Samsung had already announced in April last year that Bixby would speak German by the end of 2017. Due to the reboot everything takes longer, and now it should be done by the end of 2018. Bixby still only speaks English and Korean. By way of comparison, Google announced in the MWC 2018 that by the end of the year, the assistant will have mastered 30 languages and will even support trilingual conversations in one household.
More about Samsung at MWC 2018:
- Evolution or revolution? Samsung Galaxy S9 reviewed
- Testing the new camera in the Galaxy S9
- What are the differences between the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus?
With Bixby 2.0, the Samsung assistant will also push the boundaries of the smartphone. As Samsung confirmed on the MWC 2018, Bixby is to be omnipresent in the Samsung ecosystem. That means: smart speakers are just as much on the table as Bixby TVs or wearables with the assistant. For TVs and wearables, Samsung uses the Tizen operating system, so Bixby will also be adapted to it. The SDK is opened to allow external partners and developers to work on the system.
More information about Bixby 2.0 is expected in late Summer when the presentation of the Galaxy Note 9 approaches. At the IFA 2018 Bixby 2.0 could then celebrate its official launch and land on the Galaxy S9.
What do you think: Does Samsung really need its own assistant or would it be enough to use Google Assistant?