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printed December 15, 2017
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Samsung's Bixby Is Far More than A Voice Assistant for the Galaxy S8

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Mar 29, 2017, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones feature Bixby, a voice-based user interface developed by Samsung. It's more advanced than a simple voice assistant, as it voice-enables every function of an app. At its core, anything you can do with touch on the phone you can do with voice through Bixby. That means opening apps, but then also selecting menu items or other on-screen controls within those apps. Bixby is also able to take advantage of the camera for what Samsung calls Bixby Vision. It can translate languages, read business cards, recognize landmarks, and read QR codes. Samsung said it developed Bixby in order to minimize friction between the user and the phone in terms of how voice commands are issued and understood. Samsung calls Bixby a user interface that relies on artificial intelligence. Samsung adapted Bixby's ability to listen and understand commands based on how people speak, rather than force people to issue specific commands. Bixby embraces something it calls "completeness" — meaning if an app is Bixby enabled, Bixby will be able to interact with nearly every task that app is capable of completing. Bixby is contextual, which means it will work seamlessly in voice mode or touch screen mode without forcing people to start over or lose their place within a command sequence. Last, Bixby will include cognitive tolerance, or the ability to "understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge." The Galaxy S8 and S8+ each include a dedicated Bixby button. Owners can press the Bixby button and issue the command they want without first unlocking the phone. Samsung says a small subset of apps on the Galaxy S8 are Bixby-enabeld at launch, though it expects to add more over time. The company will release an SDK so third-party developers can add Bixby functionality to their own apps.

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bones boy

Mar 29, 2017, 4:00 PM

Good for Samsung

It's distressing to me how Apple just sat on their hands with regards to voice assistance, and let Google and (supposedly) Samsung just zoom by them in this arena. Alexa is so much eaier to use and better sounding than Siri - it gives real answers and not just links to websites - and Bixby appears to be deep-rooted in the OS as well as making the SDK available to developers before launch. To me, Apple really dropped the ball in this regard.
 
 
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