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article imageSamsung's Galaxy S8 to launch without Bixby assistant

By James Walker     Apr 12, 2017 in Technology
Samsung has announced it is delaying the launch of Bixby, the company's anticipated rival to Apple's Siri. Bixby was meant to be released alongside Samsung's Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone. It will now be added in a future Android update.
Samsung announced Bixby alongside the Galaxy S8 as one of the phone's most important features. Built to reduce Samsung's reliance on Google's technology and create its own ecosystem of devices, Bixby replaces Google Assistant as the default voice app on the Galaxy S8. Over time, it'll be available on all Samsung smart products, ranging from phones to connected appliances.
Samsung today said that it's postponing the launch of Bixby. The company hasn't explained the reason for the change but analysts expect the software isn't yet fully developed. Bixby will still be available in South Korea. The version delivered to English-speaking regions will lack Bixby's headline voice command capabilities while retaining the app's other AI features.
"Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on April 21," Samsung said to news site Axios in a statement. "Bixby Voice will be available in the U.S. on the Galaxy S8 later this spring."
Samsung describes Bixby as a "conceptually new" assistant capable of offering a more cohesive experience than Siri or Google Assistant. The company has sought to surmount the shortcomings of current digital assistants by extending Bixby's capabilities.
Most notably, Bixby won't be restricted to the core functionality of apps. Instead of working with a handful of cherry-picked commands, Bixby will be able to complete "almost every task" that apps offer in their regular touch interface. Samsung is pitching the assistant as a way to make phones simpler to use in a bid to convince consumers to move beyond the touchscreen.
The delay is unlikely to mean much for Samsung despite Bixby being one of the S8's headline features. According to reports this week, sales of the S8 are already far in excess of the phone it replaces, last year's Galaxy S7. People seem to be more concerned with the phone's new "Infinity Edge" bezel-less display than Bixby.
Opinions on Bixby vary widely. Some industry analysts view it optimistically, considering an attempt to disrupt the digital assistant market a bold move by Samsung. Others are less convinced though, questioning whether another content ecosystem is what consumers need or want. Few smartphone users have signalled they're ready to move beyond the touchscreen, something Samsung acknowledges with its impressive Infinity Edge panel.
For Samsung, Bixby is an attempt to demonstrate it's not just a hardware company. By building its own artificial intelligence system using voice input and cognitive inference, Samsung is showing it can also match Apple in software prowess. In doing so, it becomes more similar to its Californian rival, evolving beyond hardware to offer its own innovative companion apps.
More about Samsung, Bixby, galaxy s8, samsung galaxy s8, Smartphones
 
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