Samsung today introduced new features to its digital assistant, Bixby, that are aimed at making it more responsive and intelligent. With new custom wake-up words, AI-generated voice clones, and follow-up command support, the company hopes to pull more users into its ecosystem. The update comes as AI-powered services reach a fever pitch with the rise of generative text and art services.
The biggest feature that’s immediately available to all users is Bixby Text Call. This is a feature that lets you answer a phone call by typing your words and having Bixby read them out to the caller. It came to Korea last year, and the company is expanding it to English users this February.
In Korea, Samsung is rolling out a feature that lets you clone your voice so that the Bixby text-to-speech voice will sound like you, and answering those pesky admin phone calls can be automated away. Expansion to other languages is planned in the future. Samsung is also rolling out follow-up requests for Korean users, again with expansion planned in the future. More broadly, on-device AI is being made available to increase speed and allow for commands to be carried out offline. There’s no need to use data to set a timer or turn off the flashlight, for example.
“When Samsung first launched Bixby as a voice assistant, it was part of a vision to create a human-to-machine interface that makes life easier and can advance over time with Samsung Galaxy innovation,” YoungJip Kim, Samsung’s mobile executive vice president and AI team head, said. “Today, we introduce updates to build a more intelligent interface that is proactive and adaptive, giving people greater control over their mobile experience.”
Samsung’s Bixby assistant has long lived under the shadow of Google Assistant, which also powers Samsung’s phones. Whether Bixby is redundant or not is a question that pops up rather often. We’ve concluded that Google Assistant is better than Bixby for a vast swath of reasons, but Samsung’s constant iteration and dogged refusal to give up are admirable.
Samsung says these updates are available to the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Z Fold 4, and Z Flip 4 running One UI 5.0. Not all these features are going to be available to all devices everywhere immediately. If you’d like to create a custom voice, you’re going to need to be using the S23, S23 Plus, or S23 Ultra. The new on-device mode is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Korean, though, so it should see wider adoption than a few of the other features.
Steve Jobs was wrong. Having a stylus for your phone is great
Back in the day, before the iPhone, there were a plethora of personal digital assistant (PDA) devices that had styluses. Whenever you pulled out that stylus from your Palm or other PDA, you may have felt cool, and people would think, “Wow, that guy means serious business.”
But when Steve Jobs took the stage for the original iPhone reveal back in 2007, one of the things he said was, “Who wants a stylus? You have to get ‘em, put ‘em away, you lose ‘em.” Ever since the iPhone introduced smart multitouch displays that needed only your finger, pretty much every other smartphone company followed suit.
A cheaper Galaxy S23 is coming, and this is our first look at it
Samsung is apparently ready to launch a watered-down Galaxy S23 later this year, despite previous rumors it doesn’t exist. Smartprix has shared alleged renders of the Galaxy S23 Fan Edition (aka the Galaxy S23 FE), which is reportedly coming out later this year.
Notably, Samsung skipped a Fan Edition treatment for the Galaxy S22 after launching an S21 FE variant. Instead, the company lowered the asking price of Galaxy S22 following the launch of Galaxy S23 last year, keeping the former on the shelf as an entry point to the Galaxy flagship experience.
Asus’ latest Android phone could be a big threat to the Galaxy S23 Ultra
After plenty of speculation and waiting, Asus is finally ready to launch its next flagship smartphone, the Zenfone 10, at the end of this month. First announced late last night on the Asus Taiwan Instagram account, the Zenfone 10 will be officially revealed in full and launch on June 29.
Asus tends to make pretty solid devices despite not being quite as popular as the smartphone giants like Samsung, Google, and Apple. But the Zenfone 10 looks like it's shaping up to be one of the best Android phones on the market. Based on a handful of videos posted on the Asus website on a page devoted to the Zenfone 10 launch event, the phone's specs make it seem like it might be able to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with one key difference: its size.