Samsung’s personal voice assistant, called Bixby, will launch with the Galaxy S8 this month, but you won’t be able to talk to it until later this spring.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 will arrive in the US without one of its key features: the voice of Bixby, Samsung’s new personal digital assistant.
Bixby is Samsung’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, a voice-powered assistant designed to handle many aspects of your life, from reminding you what to buy at the grocery store to turning on your phone’s wireless hotspot. While those and other features will be available when the Galaxy S8 launches on April 21, the voice function will not. In other words, you’ll have to interact with Bixby the old-fashioned way, by tapping on the screen.
Samsung said on Tuesday that it plans to roll out the voice-activated part of Bixby “later this spring,” which suggests that it needs more development time to add features and iron out kinks. That jives with how company executives and engineers described Bixby to PCMag ahead of the Galaxy S8 launch last month: a feature that will start out small and add capabilities later.
The result is that the first Galaxy S8 owners will be able to interact with three parts of Bixby: Home, Vision, and Reminders. That means you’ll see pop-up cards on your phone’s screen based on what the assistant thinks is relevant. Perhaps you call someone at the same time every day? Bixby can set a reminder to make the call. Wake up early on Mondays but like to sleep in on Friday? Bixby will figure that out and suggest an alarm schedule on its own.
All told, Bixby will initially be compatible with 10 of the Galaxy S8’s built-in apps, including gallery, phone, contacts, settings, camera, and reminders. Samsung says that support for the browser, email, and calendar apps is coming later.