With the arrival of Google Assistant in the last few weeks, you’d think that there’s no more room for one more smart assistant on the Android platform. I mean, Google, arguably the world’s largest collector of personal data, should be having an unmatchable headstart. That assumption doesn’t hold water when it comes to the ambitions of the world’s largest maker of Android devices, Samsung.
Samsung has gone ahead to unveil Bixby, its own context-aware Artificial Intelligence-driven smart assistant, ahead of the unveiling of its Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone later this month.
The Galaxy S8, easily one of the most anticipated smartphones this year, is set to arrive with a dedicated side button for summoning Bixby and will be the first Samsung device to feature the smart assistant.
So how exactly will Bixby be different from other personal assistants out there like Microsoft’s Cortana?
According to Samsung, Bixby will be very context-aware hence making it easier to understand user requests. It will also “be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge.”
In a blog post announcing Bixby, Samsung notes that Bixby is the first step “on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone.”
How Bixby works arouses some curiosity. Unlike the personal assistants known to us on the Android platform at the moment like Assistant, Cortana and Hound, Bixby will only work fully with Bixby-ready applications. When the Galaxy S8 becomes available next month, only some select apps are expected to be Bixby-ready. Samsung says that it will be releasing an SDK to allow developers to make their applications Bixby-ready. The company has done the same for a lot of its other proprietary stuff like the S-Pen and the Knox security software but the results have been mixed.
Bixby won’t just be limited to Samsung’s Android smartphones. The smart assistant is expected to become available on other Samsung appliances (most that are not of interest to a niche blog like Android Kenya) later on as it matures.