After launching in the US last month, Samsung has announced they’re expanding Bixby’s voice capabilities to 200 countries including the U.K., Australia, Canada and South Africa.
Bixby launched with the Galaxy S8 in April, but it’s taken it’s sweet time getting to Australia. Bixby is an assistant for your phone, letting you issue commands like ‘send the picture just taken to Mum’ with the assistant able to understand the layers such as the context of the camera, who your mother is and SMS’ing in that one command. It’s the natural language you communicate with Bixby that Samsung believes is the key to getting a leg up on the competition.
Samsung has several of their own apps able to be used by Bixby, including the flashlight, camera, reminder creation and you can issue commands such as ‘Turn on Do-not-disturb mode’ or ‘Set an alarm for 6am’. It’s not stopping there, with Samsung launching an SDK with the intent to open up a whole eco-system of apps that can be used by Bixby – there’s even a Bixby Labs which lets you play around with Bixby accessing Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, and loads more.
Samsung has baked Bixby into the OS on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, and it will be making an appearance on the soon to be released Galaxy Note 8 and Samsung says ‘other devices’. At this stage you need to access Bixby by either pushing the (up until now useless) Bixby button on the side of your phone – a long press – or by saying ‘Hi Bixby’.
The downside to the launch is that Bixby is only available in U.S. English and Korean and Samsung says that not all accents, dialects and expressions are recognised – at least right now. Samsung has said that natural language understanding will improve, with Bixby able to learn to understand frequently used terms and commands quickly. The improvements will extend to other languages as well – but for now, not English (AU).
While there’s no English (AU) option as such, Garry McGregor, Director, IT and Mobile, Samsung Electronics Australia said they have been testing and optimising for Australian customers.
With the introduction of Bixby voice, our Australian customers with a compatible smartphone will be able activate the power and functionality of the Bixby experience simply by speaking with their device.
If you have a Galaxy S8 or S8+ then you can try out Bixby on your handset now.