Bixby, the new digital assistant from Samsung won't be available at the time of the Galaxy S8 launch. At the Galaxy S8 and S8+ official announcement, Samsung had touted Bixby as the signature feature of the new flagship smartphones. Axios reports that Bixby's key features including Vision, Home and Reminder will work at launch but not voice.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ were launched on March 29 and are currently available for preorder. The smartphones will go on sale starting April 21, but with limited Bixby functionality. Samsung said Bixby is aimed to ease the user experience on Galaxy smartphones, but one of its core features has been delayed. Samsung says Bixby Voice will be available at a later stage without giving out a specific availability date.
With Bixby, Samsung is taking a direct shot at growing popularity of AI assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. While Google Assistant already exists on the Galaxy S8, Samsung decided to introduce its own assistant. The reason behind the delay of the voice feature hasn't been revealed but its worth noting that Bixby only supports English and Korean at the time of launch.
Bixby shows Samsung's larger software ambition to steer away from Google's stock Android experience. With Bixby getting delayed, it raises a question whether Samsung is really capable of delivering a compelling software experience on its rather superior hardware.