Samsung to launch upgraded Bixby digital assistant with third party support next week

By Karthekayan Iyer | Published on 13 Oct 2017
Samsung to launch upgraded Bixby digital assistant with third party support next week
HIGHLIGHTS

Samsung's Bixby 2.0 is expected to bring deeper integration with third-party apps and services. The digital assistant has received a lukewarm response from tech enthusiasts and Galaxy smartphone users.

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Samsung Bixby, the digital assistant from the Korean tech giant is expected to get new updates next week. According to Korean Herald, Samsung is planning to announce Bixby 2.0, the upgraded version at its annual developer conference in San Francisco on October 18.

Samsung announced Bixby in March as an attempt to tackle the growing popularity of digital assistants like Google Assistant, Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. While Bixby was expected to launch with voice support at the launch of the Galaxy S8, it got delayed until June. Due to the delayed launch and limited functionality, the assistant received an underwhelming response among tech enthusiasts and Galaxy smartphone users.

In order to push adoption, Samsung even added a dedicated button to launch its Bixby assistant. The move mostly frustrated users and the company recently rolled out an update that allows Galaxy S8 and Note 8 users to disable the button altogether.

With Bixby 2.0, Samsung wants to make the assistant more relevant to its users. The company is moving the leadership of service intelligence group to Samsung Research America's Chung Eui-suk. Chung is a Silicon Valley expert responsible for mobile platform and solutions at Samsung Research America.

While Chung is expected to bring his Silicon Valley expertise to Korea, the company will also have more tools for developers to take advantage of Bixby this time. With Bixby 2.0, the biggest development is expected to come in the form of support from third-party developers. The new assistant is expected to have deeper integration with third-party apps and services, allowing more flexibility with voice commands.

At its annual developer conference, Samsung is also widely expected to expand Bixby beyond smartphones. The company is likely to announce the launch of a Bixby-enabled smart speaker to compete with Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod. It remains to be seen whether Samsung delivers a compelling digital assistant with the second act.

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Karthekayan Iyer

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