Samsung has another ace up its sleeve as it perseveres to outpace rival Apple in the race for superior mobile devices.
The South Korean OEM acquired California-based artificial intelligence startup Viv Labs — the brains behind Siri — on Oct. 6, and it seems the company is now eyeing its very own virtual assistant. That raises the big question: is Samsung gunning for a Siri killer? It definitely seems so.
Viv Labs has been in the news for its new virtual assistant Viv, which the co-founders Chris Brigham, Adam Cheyer and Dag Kittlaus have teased as being a lot more capable than their previous creation — Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010 for $200 million.
While it is not known how much Samsung paid for Viv, it is clear that the company intends to bake in the intelligent personal assistant into its devices.
What is it that makes Viv a potential Siri killer?
Viv's unique selling point lies in its integration even with third-party apps and services. This is something Siri is slowly adapting to with the onset of iOS 10. Siri can integrate data via 42 different services at launch, however, Apple simplified the AI assistant's capabilities before its inclusion into the iPhone.
Viv is also touted as a voice assistant that can handle day-to-day tasks on its own — yes it is apparently that intelligent. It can order a present, make hotel reservations or check the weather simply through language commands.
What sets Viv apart from the current crop of virtual assistant such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Now is that the software allows it to understand a user's request in greater depth, as well engage in a conversation to complete the same. It is capable of dynamic program generation.
"When it understands intent of user, it generates a program as needed," co-founder Kittlaus said in May, when Viv Labs demoed the virtual assistant for the first time.
Moreover, Viv is constantly evolving with the user because it is "always learning."
"Viv is an artificial intelligence platform that enables developers to distribute their products through an intelligent, conversational interface. It's the simplest way for the world to interact with devices, services and things everywhere. Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day," notes its website.
How will Samsung benefit from this acquisition?
Samsung will look to integrate Viv not only in its 2017 Galaxy flagship smartphones and future tablets, but also its Smart TV lineup. Viv could also play a key role in how one interacts with Samsung home appliances.
"With Viv, Samsung will be able to unlock and offer new service experiences for its customers, including one that simplifies user interfaces, understands the context of the user and offers the user the most appropriate and convenient suggestions and recommendations," notes the company.
Moreover, thanks to the acquisition, Samsung's reliance on Google will be further reduced. First, Samsung Pay instead of Android Pay, and then Viv to counter Google Now.