Bixby was one of the most anticipated new features of the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 + just introduced. The new voice assistant is born in these smartphones, but it’s actually interesting because it probably will not be the only type of device we see it on.
That is one of the differential characteristics of a development that is different from what we have seen so far with Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Now. It has a different purpose to them, and maybe Samsung have hit the nail with that approach.
Do not touch
Much has put on the Samsung table to highlight his bet by Bixby. You can call on this voice assistant by name, of course, but it also occupies that desk to the left of the main where we used to find Fliboard Briefing. The thing is really serious when we find that in addition to those options in the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + there is a physical button on one side that is intended solely and exclusively to activate Bixby when we need it.
Bixby, yes, depends on the cloud, as claimed one of its top officials, the hardware necessary skills are minimal, which will make their integration into other devices is very simple. It would not be strange if Bixby ended up reaching other Samsung smartphones in the short term, for example.
The basic principle with which Samsung wants to differentiate Bixby is that “everything you can do by touching, you can do it speaking.” The idea is to take advantage of the options of the native applications of the device. For now, there are only a dozen of them working together with Bixby, but in addition to expanding that native catalog developers can use that power by adapting their own utilities thanks to an SDK that will appear later. The goal is clear: if there is a tactile option to do something, there will also be a voice command that does the same.
A clear example would be to rotate photos with the voice, apply a filter or share them with a “send this photo to my wife”. This phrase, by the way, demonstrates how Bixby will understand the context. And if it does not, it will offer the best solution found and ask us if that is indeed what we wanted to do.
Not only that; there will also be voice control of services with which Samsung and other companies have already collaborated. Pinterest, Foursquare, YouTube, Facebook or Netflix are among the first to offer these options. Support may be limited for the moment, but it is only the beginning of an approach that is less focused on answering questions and more on doing things directly with the voice. Samsung knows that it is very difficult to compete with Google, Microsoft or Amazon in the field of Machine Learning, so it has adopted a (smart, by the way, and never better) practical approach.
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Augmented reality takes on another dimension
Among these differential features of Bixby is the ability to translate 52 different languages, but is also able to search for information about an object from which we take a photo. Image recognition works as a kind of augmented reality system in which once we point to an object with the camera it shows a card with similar images to what it detects that object can be.
That capability is also associated with the fact that Bixby is able to offer buying links to a product on Amazon just by taking a photo of it, something that will in fact simplify the work to many shoppers who “gossip” products In physical stores of all kinds to try them or try them out, but then they ended up buying them in online stores like Amazon.
Bixby makes us completely forget about S-Voice, which was Samsung’s first foray into voice recognition on its phones. The purchase of Viv served to reinforce a section that could be very important in the coming years, and that seems to note in the power of an assistant who is able to understand the context and natural language.
This development is also responsible for displaying information relevant to the user in the style of Google Now in which we will find reminders created or news, and it will be interesting to see how Samsung “fights” with Google Assistant and its predecessor, the aforementioned Google Now, to win the confidence of users in this type of assistance work.
Bixby Home, the future
One of Samsung’s most ambitious ideas with Bixby is to make it a very versatile wizard that is able to encourage user interaction not only with its smartphone (Samsung’s moment), but with other products and appliances that In fact -attention- will not only have to be manufactured by Samsung: the company seems willing to open Bixby to products competitors such as, why not, Apple.
The idea here seems to be similar to the proposals of Apple and Google, who try to offer more or less closed ecosystems in which it is possible to centralize the control of various devices and solutions demotic with the voice or with a smartphone or tablet.
It seems therefore that Bixby has only taken a first step in the Galaxy S8, and hopefully this assistant will conquer all kinds of products manufactured by Samsung, including a new router presented during the event and part of its still limited But ambitious SmartThings platform for IoT products.
It seems inevitable that another step in that climb is an Amazon Echo or Google Home solution that benefits from the options of this assistant and allows enjoying their capabilities in a different format. Its adoption in televisions, refrigerators, or sound systems – among many other types of product – also seems inevitable if the attendee really behaves as their managers expect.