Just days after the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ were revealed, the company’s mobile chief DJ Koh has announced that an updated version of the company’s digital assistant- Bixby 2.0- will be released for the devices in the second half of 2018. Bixby 2.0 was first unveiled back in October last year at the company’s developer conference in San Francisco. The company had announced that the second-gen version of Bixby would be geared towards smart home devices, but didn’t release any specific details regarding the same.
Samsung started taking applications for the public beta version back in December last year and since then over 800 companies have applied and are currently testing the updated voice assistant. The company has also revealed some additional information about the update. Here are 5 new Bixby 2.0 features you should know about:
5 New Bixby 2.0 Features You Should Know About
1. Designed for IoT Devices
With Bixby 2.0, Samsung plans to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home by connecting all IoT devices via a single digital assistant. Once the functionality is in place, a number of appliances, both from Samsung and other manufacturers, will support the voice assistant. This will allow users to give voice commands to potentially all electronic appliances in their home using Bixby 2.0. During its official announcement, Samsung revealed:
“We see a world where digital assistant play a bigger role, an intelligent role, where one day everything from our phones, to our fridge, to our sprinkler system will have some sort of intelligence to help us seamlessly interact with all the technology we use each day.”
At the recent announcement Koh also said, “Bixby won’t be tied to a specific device. The ultimate goal is to make it ubiquitous”.
2. Open Platform for Third-Party Developers
Bixby 2.0 will be built on an open platform allowing third-party developers to make use of the SDK. This will bring in a wave of new Bixby powered smart appliances from other manufacturers. Additionally, service providers will be able to add their services to Bixby which will expand their reach to a larger number of devices. Upon implementation, the feature will help developers write just one piece of code for Bixby, rather than reinventing their services for every specific device.
Samsung’s official blog on the matter states:
“With Bixby 2.0, the doors will be wide open for developers to choose and model how users interact with Bixby in their services across all application domains e.g., sports, food, entertainment, or travel – the opportunities are truly endless.”
3. Integration for Android and Tizen Devices
During the initial announcement, Ji Soo Yi, VP Mobile Communications Business for Samsung, told reporters that Bixby 2.0 would feature a “one work on one platform” command structure. The updated command structure will allow Samsung to use Bixby across different operating systems like Android and Samsung’s Tizen. This will allow Samsung to include its light weight Tizen operating system in low-end devices and still provide complete Bixby functionality across the board.
The Samsung newsroom post regarding the matter states:
“Bixby 2.0 will be ubiquitous, available on any and all devices. This means having the intelligence of Bixby, powered by the cloud, act as the control hub of your device ecosystem, including mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, home speakers, or any other connected technology you can imagine.”
4. Increased Language Support and Improved Voice Recognition
Bixby 2.0 is expected to feature better natural language recognition along with support for more regional languages. With the added functionality, Bixby will be able to differentiate between people, much like the Google Assistant, and provide contextual replies. The updated assistant will also feature enhanced natural language capabilities which will allow it to process complex commands. Samsung claims that Bixby 2.0, “can really get to know and understand not only who you are, but who members of your family are, and tailor its response and actions appropriately.”
Additionally, earlier this year it was revealed that users might not need to say the “Hey Bixby” activation phrase before every command. The updated digital assistant will be able to understand contextual queries after the first time the activation phrase is used, allowing for a more natural conversation between the user and Bixby.
5. Project Ambience
While all the aforementioned features will be included on the software side, Project Ambience is a new hardware development which focuses on bringing Bixby 2.0 to supported devices. The company hasn’t revealed much information regarding the matter, but according to the original announcement, Project Ambience will make use of a small chip or dongle which will bring Bixby functionality to a number of different products.
We believe that Project Ambience will be an absolute game changer in the world of digital assistants, allowing users to convert their normal appliances into smart home devices which can be controlled using voice commands. Project Ambience is expected to significantly widen the Bixby-powered home ecosystem as it will eliminate the need to buy expensive smart appliances. If all goes as planned, Samsung’s Bixby 2.0 along with Project Ambience will pose a stiff competition against other digital assistant ecosystems which require dedicated hardware to function.
Which Bixby 2.0 Feature Are You Most Excited About?
When it was first released back in May last year, Samsung’s digital assistant Bixby only supported Korean language input and was quite buggy to be honest. Even though the digital assistant received a lot of flak from the tech community at large, Samsung hasn’t given up on the platform and it has significantly improved over time. We even pitched Bixby against the Google Assistant and Siri in a series of different tests and although it wasn’t the best digital assistant out of the lot, it did have a unique set of features which were absent in the other two.
Since its release, Bixby has evolved quite a lot, with Samsung improving on the implementation and adding new features in incremental updates. If all goes according to plan, Bixby 2.0 could be a game changer in the digital assistant space and allow Samsung to create an unparalleled IoT ecosystem.
What do you think about the changes coming in Bixby 2.0? Will Samsung’s voice assistant be able to match up to the functionality offered by the Google Assistant? Let us know in the comments section below.