With the success of Alexa, everyone wants to get in on the voice control action. Siri has been around for years, and I don’t know anyone that actually uses it. Google has Assistant, so now Samsung have released their own fully fledged assistant with Bixby.
Bixby is supposed to be different though it's meant to serve as a new voice-based interface for controlling your apps, rather than just something that you can ask a few questions.
“Instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us,” Samsung senior vice president InJong Rhee wrote in a blog post. “The interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs.”
As the company explains it, Bixby will be able to control almost everything you could do in an app with a touchscreen. It will reportedly also be contextually aware, allowing you to jump between voice and touch commands as you're trying to accomplish something. Finally, Samsung claims Bixby can understand incomplete commands, so you hopefully won't be forced to memorize rote phrases.
We don’t know what is powering Bixby but Samsung did buy Viv last year and the lab that created this was behind the original Siri. So, it is likely that Viv is playing some role in this.
I am not entirely convinced of voice control integration with phones, but I can get behind the idea of Alexa controlling gadgets around my house. This could be where Samsung may have an advantage over Google and Apple. If they rolled out Bixby into their growing range of smart appliances and speakers it could make a viable competitor for Alexa.
Samsung will be announcing the new Galaxy S8 on March 29th so we will no doubt find out more about Bixby then.