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Is Samsung Making A Big Mistake With Bixby Voice?

The decision by Samsung to introduce Bixby, a voice powered assistant, which at this stage is not available for the new S8 smartphones set to be launched in Australia next week, raises the question as to why did Samsung have to go to this technology in the first place.

Back in 2012 Samsung introduced Tizen, a Samsung developed OS that the company told us was set to be the next big thing for smartphones, it went nowhere, now the Korean Company, is having a crack at taking on Apple Siri which, while being not that great a voice assistant, did create the momentum behind artificial intelligence in smartphones.

With Bixby, which at this stage is only half baked, Samsung is also taking on, Google Assistant which is found in the new LG G6, I have been using this technology for the past few weeks and it is responsive and works well.

While this technology is found in the new S8 Samsung engineers believe that their new Bixby is better and a complement to what Google is offering.

At a Samsung function this week in Sydney, the confirmed that its much-anticipated answer to Apple’s Siri will be delayed.

Richard Fink Vice President IT and Communication at Samsung said that the benefits of the new Bixby help users search and categorise photographs and access information using voice commands.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ which is set to be available to consumer who pre-ordered on the 21st of April in and in stores on the 28th will be without English voice control for Bixby.

Questions have also been raised as to whether it will recognise the Australian accent. Back in 2013 when Samsung Electronics announced the launch of its first generation ultra-large, UHD TV, the 85 inch Samsung S9 the Company jumped up and down to tell us how good the voice assist feature was in this device.

They said that their new Voice Interaction Natural Language feature designed by Samsung and Macquarie University broke new ground in voice activation technology and innovation.

Philip Newton, then Vice President – Consumer Electronics, Samsung Electronics Australia said at the time “Something we’re especially proud to be launching this year and unique to Australia, is the Natural Language functionality. Specifically designed for the Australian market, whereby the TV understands the way we speak and can speak back with an Aussie accent, can make recommendations based on analysing viewing habits and truly illustrates the level of innovation that Samsung is able to deliver to Australian consumers.”

It now appears with the new Samsung QLED TV’s have less of an emphasis on voice activation, the question now is whether Samsung will introduce Bixby into their TV range.

What is available in the new S8 is Google’s voice assistant which is fast becoming a standard part of the Android operating system. Personally, I am a big fan of open standards after seeing several Companies such as Wang, Digital and Data General when they moved to proprietary versions of Windows.

We are being told that a full Bixby will be made available as an update later this year.

Samsung have not given a reason not give a reason why they chose to only deliver half a concept when the key element is voice activation.

With the S8 that I played with this week the software was lacking and should never have been introduced until a full working version was available.

“Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, will be available with the Australian pre-order launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on 21 April,” the company said.

The S8 smartphones, which impressed pundits at a New York launch which only selected journalists were invited to is a key a way for Samsung to come back from the Note 7 exploding battery debacle – 2.5 million devices were recalled.

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