Bixby, Samsung’s personal assistant
Bixby is the youngest of the personal assistants available on the market. It was presented by Samsung in 2017, on the occasion of the launch of the Galaxy S8 / S8 +. Born as an evolution of S Voice , Bixby initially supported only Korean, but later six other languages were added: English, Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish and German. The assistant consists of three main parts (Home, Voice and Vision), in addition to the Reminder and Routines features (introduced with the Galaxy S10 series). Bixby is constantly being improved by Samsung and, starting from version 2.0, it can also be exploited by third-party companies, using the Bixby Developer Studio .
The market for personal assistants for mobile devices is dominated by Siri , Google Assistant and Alexa ( Cortana has a very limited distribution). The latest addition is Bixby , introduced in 2017 with the Galaxy S8 / S8 +, which has received constant improvements over the years. Its popularity does not reach that of its direct competitors, but it is on the rise thanks to Samsung’s smartphone sales . Support for other connected products has been extended with version 2.0 . Even third-party companies can write compatible applications, using the Bixby Developer Studio .
Samsung’s first personal assistant was S Voice , introduced with the Galaxy S III in 2012 and derived from Vlingo , a voice recognition software. The company of the same name was subsequently acquired by Nuance Communications and the latter provided the technology starting from the Galaxy S5. The features of S Voice were rather limited, so the Korean manufacturer decided to develop a more advanced assistant. Bixby has therefore replaced S Voice on the Galaxy S8 / S8 + announced in March 2017.
Before the official launch there were rumors about the use of artificial intelligence developed by Viv Labs , a startup founded by the creators of Siri . Viv Labs was acquired by Samsung in October 2016. Viv was able to perform more complex tasks and answer more specific questions, starting a real conversation with the user. It also not only supported smartphones, but also other devices, from wearables to appliances.
Viv Labs technologies have subsequently been integrated into Bixby 2.0 . The new version, announced in October 2017, supports smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, smart TVs, smart speakers, refrigerators and other IoT devices. Samsung has also distributed an SDK that allows Bixby to be integrated into third-party applications and services.
Initially the assistant recognized only voice commands in Korean. After solving various “comprehension” problems, the Korean manufacturer added English (United States), making the Bixby Voice feature usable in over 200 countries. Subsequently support for Chinese was added. From February 2019, after the presentation of the Galaxy S10 , users can interact with Bixby by speaking in Italian , English (United Kingdom), French, German and Spanish.
How to activate it
The fastest way to activate Bixby Voice is to say the ” Hi Bixby ” command . Alternatively you can hold down the dedicated button on Galaxy smartphones. If there is no button, just start the app with the same name. Before using voice recognition, you must register your voice in the settings. A single short press activates Bixby Home instead .
At the launch of the Galaxy S10, Samsung added the ability to customize the button, choosing an option (single or double press) for Bixby and assigning the other to an app or quick commands . When the virtual keyboard is displayed, by holding down the button you can perform voice dictation (for example for messages). These features will also be available on the Galaxy S8 / S9 and Note 8/9 updated to Android 9 Pie .