After facing months of delays, Samsung has finally rolled out its Bixby virtual assistant to more than 200 countries. It launched in July for U.S. and South Korea Galaxy S8 owners, but at that point it had been a couple of months late as well.
It remains uncertain just what caused the delayed release of Samsung's artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant, but some speculated that it wasn't ready yet.
Similarly, it remains a mystery why Samsung decided to come out with its own assistant instead of just relying on Google Assistant to do the job. Perhaps it wants to compete with Siri, Alexa, and Google's own technology.
Samsung Bixby Launches Worldwide
Bixby is available in English and Korean, and Samsung says it learns the more people use it, optimizing its functions as it recognizes the user's speech patterns and voice better. This, perhaps, is one of the reasons why Samsung delayed its full launch.
"The expansion of Bixby's voice capabilities is an initial step in the continued rollout of Bixby functionality," said Injong Rhee, Samsung's executive VP, in a statement. In the future, the company claims Bixby will have "the learning power" to provide users smarter interactions and "seamless connections" across different devices.
The last part of that statement might be hinting at Bixby's potential integration with other systems, such as smart home devices. If true, then Bixby stands to compete with Google and Amazon in the connected home front, possibly with a new Bixby smart speaker.
People Might Not Want Bixby At All
Some people don't like Bixby at all. In fact, several Galaxy S8 owners are still trying unofficial methods to assign a different function when they press the dedicated Bixby key, but Samsung has continued to roll out updates that disable remapping the Bixby key.
Bixby deserves a chance, certainly, but there's always the question of necessity. With Google Assistant already available in pretty much all Android phones and with it already being an extremely smart and capable assistant, why Samsung suddenly decided that creating its own assistant is a good idea remains a question. Granted, it has terrific features such as Bixby Vision, which can recognize objects using the camera.
In the end it might end up being a question of preferences. Google will still remain king in the Assistants race, if for the fact that Bixby is locked to Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus for the time being, and it doesn't look as if there's something about Bixby worth abandoning Google Assistant for. Time, however, will tell.
Samsung says Bixby will be made available to other devices over time, which gives it the opportunity to eat up Google Assistant's broad market share.