Not long after the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ were unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2018, attention has naturally turned to Samsung’s next flagship release. Along with the release of the highly anticipated Galaxy Note 9, Samsung has suggested that it could launch with Bixby version 2.0.
DJ Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief, revealed to the press that the next version of Bixby, dubbed version 2.0, will launch as soon as August. This would coincide with the launch of the Galaxy Note 9 and would mark the flagship event with a substantial marketing angle with Bixby 2.0. Samsung has already beefed up Bixby’s capabilities with the Galaxy S9 with the virtual assistant now recognizing food and providing nutritional information, apply makeup with augmented reality and recommend the related products, as well as provide a lot more voice-guided operations. Samsung appears to be just getting started with Bixby and plans to introduce many more features as the company learns and develops the virtual assistant.
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“For Bixby 1.0, we focused on a fast rollout to the market. Expanding the ecosystem was difficult. So Bixby 2.0 will strengthen this aspect and we are working intensely,” he said. “In December last year, we began taking applications for the public beta version. So far over 800 companies have applied and are testing it.”
He continued that Samsung was making such good progress with Bixby that it would likely be able to unveil Bixby 2.0 alongside the launch of the Note 9.
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Bixby version 2.0 will focus on integration with other connected household devices to leverage the capabilities of the Internet of Things. In addition to the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung plans on releasing Bixby on its range of Smart TV’s, starting with the range of OLED TVs set to be released next month. Future enhancements to Bixby will also see the virtual assistant evolve to be able to pick out individuals in a group and identify them, which will definitely come into play in a TV implementation or a connected speaker.
“Bixby won’t be tied to a specific device. The ultimate goal is to make it ubiquitous,” said Chung at MWC 2018. “Samsung is unique in that it has TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, phones, PCs, and almost every consumer electronics. We also make the module chips that goes in them needed in IoT (Internet of Things). AI speaker will also be one among them.”
If Samsung’s dedication to Bixby wasn’t clear before, it should be now. The company is clearly banking on Bixby being the go-to assistant for your automation and callback needs. While it’s disappointing that Samsung chose to reinvent the wheel and not just leverage Google Assistant integration, providing a native assistant will hopefully see deeper integration that will translate into more useful use cases. If Bixby 2.0 is delivered with the features Samsung is alluding to, it could be a very big selling point of the upcoming Galaxy Note 9.
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