Samsung still needs more data to launch Bixby in English, report says

Rumor claims Bixby might be ready to chat as soon as next week

galaxy s8 tips and tricks
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
A rumor is circulating online that the English-language version of Samsung’s virtual assistant will debut on July 18. The leak comes from Reddit, and shows a link to a retail training webinar with the subject line “Bixby Voice Launch Tuesday, 7/18.” The image does not clarify specifically in which regions Bixby could launch on that day, nor can we verify its authenticity.

The English launch of Bixby Voice has dragged on for months, with little official indication of when Samsung may be planning to put an end to all the waiting. It was supposed to debut before the end of June, but that due date came and went without any noise. Meanwhile, a recent report from the Korea Herald has offered some explanations.

Bixby’s inability to process English grammar and syntax is, in fact, the result of a lack of data, according to the article. This wouldn’t be terribly surprising, given that the machine-learning models which underpin digital assistants thrive on repeated usage. If Samsung is trying to install Bixby with a deep understanding of the language, it will need an abundance of trials to make it possible.

That could explain why Samsung emphasized further beta testing in a statement made in May. “Bixby Voice benefits from time to further enhance natural language understanding,” a representative from the company told Digital Trends at the time, “and we are currently growing our user testing in the U.S. to prepare for launch.”

This is currently the second major delay the virtual assistant has faced since Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone launched in April. The handset released alongside other Bixby features, such as Vision, Home, and Reminder, though the Voice portion of the software — easily the most significant aspect — was curiously omitted outside the South Korean market.

Koh Dong-jin, Samsung’s mobile chief, said the English version would be out by May. When that did not happen, the company turned everyone’s attention to last month.

The continued absence is even more striking considering Samsung’s bullish move to place a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the S8. One day, that key should trigger Bixby Voice. As of now, it still only leads to Hello Bixby, a Google Now-like card interface that aggregates weather, calendar appointments, news stories, and other areas of interest.

So where could Bixby be headed from here? Unsatisfactory responses from beta testing in the States seemingly instilled the company with doubt over a full release in June. Samsung will need even more time to catch up to Google, Amazon, and Apple in terms of data to perfect its assistant — and it was already well behind to begin with. Closing the gap has proved difficult, thanks to another roadblock mentioned in the Herald’s report.

According to an anonymous source referenced by the publication, geographic and language barriers have broken down communications between the American and South Korean development teams. That ironic twist means the Korean version has advanced at a far quicker pace than the English software.

Analysts expected Bixby’s English debut wouldn’t be delayed past the fall, but at this point that possibility doesn’t seem completely out of the question as Samsung’s struggles continue. Meanwhile, rumors suggest the company has been forced to push back plans for a stand-alone Bixby-powered smart speaker, similar to Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s upcoming HomePod.

Update: Added information about a rumored July 18 release date for Bixby Voice.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.

Samsung all but confirms the Galaxy S10 will arrive on Feb. 20, ahead of MWC

Samsung's skipping Mobile World Congress 2019 this year to launch its next big smartphone a week earlier in San Francisco. Considering Samsung teased the "10-year anniversary" of Galaxy devices, we expect to see the Galaxy S10.

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

Having trouble logging in? Here’s how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.