Samsung is buying the new AI assistant from the masterminds behind Siri

apple ai data collection ios 10 3 siriunlock2
Samsung is not going to be left out of the artificial intelligence revolution, but realises it can’t do everything itself, and that only by purchasing innovative companies can it ensure it’s at the front of the pack. That’s why it has acquired Viv Labs, an expert in artificial intelligence, with the plan of bringing its talents to Galaxy phones and other appliances in the future.

You may recognise Viv Labs’s name, and that’s because it was co-founded by Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyner, who also happen to have developed Siri, Apple’s AI assistant. While it’s Samsung Electronics that made the acquisition, Viv Labs will be working with closest with Samsung Mobile, and the plan is to integrate its smarts with Galaxy phones, wearables, and even home appliances.

However, while Samsung is the company’s new owner, Viv Labs will operate independently, a clause of the agreement that fits with Viv Labs vision of a ubiquitous, trusted virtual assistant, “that’s a regular part of our everyday lives.” It doesn’t want Viv — the name of its assistant — to be another Siri, locked into a single ecosystem. The intention is to have Viv integrated with everything, and for that to happen, it needs autonomy to act outside of Samsung’s world.

Samsung may end up benefiting greatly from Viv Labs world dominating ambitions. The platform, rarely demonstrated but seen at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference earlier this year, is designed to interact with apps, devices, and other services far more deeply that we’re used to with Siri. The developer friendly stance should lead to Viv being more helpful, knowledgeable, and able to do more for us. Interaction is more conversational, and the demo showed Viv can understand very complex requests. Even more impressively, Viv can apparently adapt to previously unknown requests, and effectively write its own code to help solve a problem.

Viv Labs work on Viv began four years ago, around two years after Apple acquired Siri, and has apparently since entertained bids from both Google and Facebook. Choosing Samsung, says Viv Labs in a statement, means it can tap into the millions of devices, from TVs to phones, it sells annually. It’s also attracted to Samsung’s continuing interest in software, the Internet of Things, and mobile payments.

The announcement comes rapidly after Google made its big push into artificial intelligence with Assistant, which is about to debut on the new Pixel smartphones and Google Home. It joins Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana in the exciting world of artificially intelligent virtual helpers installed on our phones, and other devices. At the moment, Samsung has a degree of voice control on its Galaxy devices using S Voice (or Google’s own Android voice control), but it’s not comparable in terms of functionality to other virtual assistants.

Neither Samsung nor Viv Labs talk about when we’ll see Viv integrated into Samsung devices. The next major smartphone release from the company is expected to be the Galaxy S8, but we’re also keeping a watch on the so-called Galaxy X, its innovative folding smartphone rumoured for some time. Will either of these be our first chance to chat to Viv? We don’t know yet, but we can’t wait to find out.

Deals

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, the best Android tablet in the game, is now $152 off

Apple dominates the tablet market, but others are catching up: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, our favorite Android tablet, proves that these devices have what it takes to compete with the iPad Pro -- and it's on sale right now for just $498.
Mobile

Leaks show a new, bright cardinal red version of the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Mobile

Here's our first look at the Galaxy Note 10's centered selfie camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range was only just revealed, but Samsung is already working on the next big release. Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 just yet, but we do have a few details.
Android

Get ready for 5G speed: The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G has landed in the U.S.

Samsung announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show, as it's the first 5G-ready smartphone to hit the market.
Mobile

FCC chairman and commissioner support the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Gaming

The best iOS games you can play offline on your iPhone and iPad

Even though we're always glued to our phones, we don't always have access to Wi-Fi or have steady service. Whether you're on a flight, riding the bus, or sitting in a waiting room, you can always play these excellent iOS games.
Mobile

Google’s new $999 augmented reality smartglasses are ready for business

Google unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a new version of its business-focused augmented reality wearable. The company's smartglasses ship with a faster processor, an updated camera, and safety frames from Smith Optics.
Mobile

The Commerce Department implements a temporary reprieve to Huawei

Google has severed most of its partnerships with Huawei, after its addition to the "Entity List" of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Future Huawei devices will lose access to the Google Play Store, Chrome, and Android updates.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for May 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for May 2018.
Mobile

Some Pixel 3a owners say their new phone is randomly shutting down

Some owners of Google's new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones are complaining that their devices are randomly shutting down. The mid-range handsets hit the market just two weeks ago.
Deals

Best Memorial Day sales 2019: Walmart, Dell, and Home Depot start early

If you're looking to save big on some shiny new stuff for Memorial Day 2019, we've gathered everything you need to know into one place. Find out where to save the most money before the summer hits its stride.
Mobile

OnePlus 7 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: Which Android powerhouse is for you?

If you're after a real powerhouse of a smartphone, then you've probably considered the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. But you could save yourself some cash by opting for the OnePlus 7 Pro. Find out what sets these phones apart in our comparison.
Photography

Adobe Premiere Rush now allows Android users to edit video without the laptop

After launching on desktop and iOS, Adobe Premiere Rush, a streamlined video editor, is now available on Android. Premiere Rush is designed for social media projects and non-professional editors.
Mobile

The Honor 20 Pro is here with four camera lenses and a hole-punch screen

Honor has launched the Honor 20 Pro and the Honor 20 at an event taking place in London. The new smartphone is surprisingly compact, with an impressive four-lens camera for taking stunning shots, day or night.