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Bixby voice understands English for real now

Bixby was one of the most polarising features to make an appearance on Samsung‘s flagship Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones. Some loved it, some hated it, and some just didn’t see the purpose in having yet another voice assistant. Many, in fact, tried their best to remap the dedicated Bixby button on the side of their smartphone — something Samsung has been actively blocking.

Well, like it or not, Samsung is committed to their new assistant and have begun rolling out Bixby’s voice capabilities for US English.

Previously available in the United States as an opt-in beta, Bixby voice will now finally be rolling out to all Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones in the United States and South Korea. Unfortunately, there is no information regarding when Bixby voice will hit Malaysian shores.

But what sets Bixby apart from other AI voice assistants like the Google Assistant or Siri? Well, Samsung’s banking on their deep integration with the smartphone (and, by extension their entire ecosystem) to give users more granular control with their voice — things you can’t really do with the Google Assistant, for example.

That means, while you can tell Bixby to do the usual stuff like set alarms, create reminders and send texts, you can also tell it to do very specific things deep within a certain application. Here’s a quick first look that The Verge took with Bixby that demonstrates this strength:

Keep in mind that this video was done on beta software, so you can expect this full version to have ironed out some of those kinks.

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Users can summon Bixby by pushing the dedicated Bixby button on the side of the phone, or simply by saying the phrase, Hi Bixby. The idea Samsung wants to push to their consumers with Bixby is that anything you can do with touch, you can also do with your voice through Bixby.

Seems a little peculiar, then, that they had to make a dedicated physical button for it.

In any case, at launch, the Bixby voice will be fully integrated with all core Samsung applications.

For now, we’re a little sceptical about how much more useful Bixby will be compared to the Google Assistant. I, for one, live on Google’s services, so the Assistant seems to make more sense. However, I am looking forward to testing Bixby voice out when it does come to Malaysia before jumping to any kind of conclusions.