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Samsung Announces Bixby Voice Preview: Can It Compete With Other Virtual Assistants?

19 June 2017, 1:48 pm EDT By Eric Brackett Tech Times
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Samsung has announced the launch of an early access program for Bixby Voice. Samsung's new digital assistant will allow users to control their smartphones by speaking.  ( Drew Angerer | Getty Images )

Samsung has announced the launch of a preview program for Bixby Voice, just almost two months after releasing the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Bixby Voice Early Access

Today, Samsung announced that some S8 and S8 Plus owners can preview Bixby Voice before the software goes live on other Samsung devices.

Those who are interested in Bixby Voice can sign up on Samsung's website, but there is no guarantee that they will be selected. Samsung hasn't given any details regarding the selection process or how many users will be chosen. The site merely says that "participation is limited," but a spokesperson for Samsung told us that the company was not prepared to elaborate on their selection process. Samsung has also provided no details regarding when the program will begin, though we are expecting it to launch within the coming months.

Bixby Voice

Bixby Voice will allow users to send texts, make calls, and change their phone's settings simply by speaking. The Bixby Voice launch in the United States was delayed due to difficulty in optimizing it for the English language. Given that Bixby Voice is already available in South Korea, the language barrier is as good as an explanation as any.

Currently, users from the United States do have limited access to Bixby features such as Bixby Home and Reminders. Most interesting of all — at least to us — is Bixby Vision, which is used for augmented reality. Given the popularity of augmented reality games such as Pokémon GO, this feature has a lot of potentials that app developers could use in interesting ways. Samsung claims that Bixby Voice will learn and grow more accurate over time.

Once they implement Bixby Voice, Samsung has plans to integrate Bixby into all of their smart products such as TVs and appliances. The ability to control devices from a smartphone definitely has a potential to make everyday tasks easier. 

Is Bixby Voice Needed?

Unlike the iPhone, which for years relied solely on Siri, Android devices have a wide range of digital assistants, including Google Assistant. From what we've seen, aside from controlling Samsung appliances, Bixby brings little to the table. That being said, we haven't seen the software in action, so it could represent an improvement over similar services. In terms of products such as these, small improvements can make all the difference. The basic template has been established so now it's mainly a matter of polish and refinement. 

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Eric Brackett Tech Times editor Eric Brackett is a tech junkie and a gamer, covering science and technology. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for updates and his random thoughts on the latest trends in gaming, tech, and comic books.

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