It was billed by Samsung as the Galaxy S8’s defining feature — one that would put it on equal footing with the iPhone and Google’s Pixel in terms of artificial intelligence. But well over a month since the launch of Samsung’s flagship smartphone, owners outside South Korea are still waiting for Bixby to make its full debut. According to the latest from The Wall Street Journal, that day is getting closer — and not a moment too soon.
Sources told the publication that Samsung is eyeing a late June release for Bixby’s voice features. That could exceed the phone maker’s initial target of the spring, but it is the excuse for the delay that makes the situation considerably less encouraging. Samsung is reportedly still having trouble getting Bixby to comprehend English grammar and syntax.
Although Samsung did not provide a concrete answer for its tardiness at the time, the very same reason was rumored back in April, weeks before the Galaxy S8’s launch. The company has had better success in its own market and released Bixby Voice for South Korean users in early May.
“Bixby Voice benefits from time to further enhance natural language understanding, and we are currently growing our user testing in the U.S. to prepare for launch,” a Samsung representative told Digital Trends. “Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, are available now.”
The Galaxy S8 launched with a dedicated hardware key for the new virtual assistant, which is planned to arrive in many other devices from tablets to kitchen appliances down the line. Bixby could prove its worth as a utility for your smart home — but until then, it is merely a stand-in for Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant, with a noticeable lack of differentiating features.
As Bixby’s launch appears to still be weeks away, users will have to continue inquiring Google Assistant before that button on the left side of the Galaxy S8 is given any real purpose. Pressing it now merely leads to Hello Bixby, a feed of Google Now-like cards that consists of weather updates, reminders, calendar notifications and links to news stories that might interest you.
Digital Trends first revealed the existence of Bixby in March, following interviews with the head of research and development at Samsung Mobile Communications Business Group in South Korea.
“Philosophically, what we’re looking at is revolutionizing the interface,” Injong Rhee told Digital Trends.