Samsung unveils Bixby, its Siri competitor

Dr. Injong Rhee Samsung’s head of research and development for software and services

Dr. Injong Rhee Samsung’s head of research and development for software and services

We've known about Samsung's Bixby AI assistant for months now, though the company has kept a pretty tight lid on exactly what it will end up being.

The report added a software upgrade to support Bixby could be announced within the first half of this year.

Bixby is Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Alexa, and represents a new way in which consumers will interact with Samsung's devices.

"Samsung has a conceptually new philosophy to the problem: instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us", Samsung explained in a press release.

Completeness means that Bixby will be able to complete a multitude of tasks.

He said Bixby-enabled devices will support nearly every task that the application is capable of, will have contextual understanding of the device to offer touch and voice and will have cognitive tolerance to execute commands from incomplete information.

Samsung on Monday unveiled what's probably going to be one of the Galaxy S8's most important new features, the Bixby assistant. "Bixby will allow users to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application, whichever they feel is most comfortable and intuitive".

This all sounds very impressive, but Samsung also cautions that we'll see a first step at the S8 launch, so expect it to perform with relative modesty at launch. "The Bixby button will be located below the volume button", the official added.

But Samsung says there are thousands of engineers working on bringing the platform to other devices and applications, including the company's wide range of appliances.

The tech giant filed to trademark the term Bixby for use in computer software for personal information management, in smartphones, mobiles, portable computers and tablets to "operate voice recognition system" and and "computer software for enabling hands-free use of a mobile phone through voice recognition", as spotted by site Sammobile last November.

A "subset" of pre-installed apps on the Galaxy S8 will be Bixby-enabled at launch, Samsung said, adding that it plans to eventually release an SDK to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services compatible with Bixby. Let's hope that changes soon.

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