Samsung has officially announced that Bixby Voice will be available in more than 200 countries worldwide, starting from August 23rd.
Bixby is going to provide your handset a pretty big update (and is being done to coincide with the launch of Galaxy Note 8 on 23 August), so we have put a compact little guide together to help you understand what’s going on, how to use it and what you should expect.
What is Bixby Voice?
As you can probably guess, Bixby Voice is the Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant voice command element.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were launched with the Bixby hardware button on the side of each of them, but that activated Bixby Home, a portal with information on health updates, upcoming calendar events, and news.
Bixby Voice gives you the opportunity to interact with your phone either by saying ‘Hi Bixby’ or holding the hardware button and being able to understand what you are after.
According to Injong Rhee, Executive VP and Head of R&D, Software and Services at Samsung, Bixby initially supported only 10 applications, but the feedback from people indicated that’s not enough.
So Samsung has been working on improving the number of apps that Bixby Voice can work with and it is now available worldwide.
How to download Bixby Voice?
This update is already available in South Korea and the US and should already be on your phone. If it is not on your phone, press the button dedicated to Bixby on the side of your phone to trigger the update – it may not be available instantly but should be available before the end of the day.
What can Bixby Voice do?
Bixby is not just a voice assistant because it is a more holistic sidekick throughout your phone that can understand you contextually.
The idea here is that you can change from voice to touch and camera, with the phone understanding exactly what you want with each interaction.
Bixby Voice will listen to whatever you are trying to do and make the apps that are needed to do it. It means you will be able to say ‘Take a selfie’ and it will open the camera, flip it to the front-facing sensor and snap you, without you touching it.
You could follow that by saying ‘Post this photo to Instagram or Facebook or send the photo to my girlfriend and Bixby will understand what you want and do it instantly.
Bixby can recognize thousands of commands and the idea is that Bixby can interpret your commands depending on where you are in your phone.
It can also answer web queries, so you don’t have to exit to another app.
What languages does Bixby Voice come in?
This is where it gets trickier to explain. Bixby Voice is available in Korean and US English, which it already is now.
That is, of course, going to cause some hiccups, especially around regional dialects where the different culture of pronouncing a word is going to have an impact.
It means unless your dialect is that of US English or Korean, there is great chance something might not translate well.
Having said that, during the demonstration of Bixby Voice we have had, we have seen people with Scottish and American accents instantly understood by Bixby and when it’s not got the words right, it has worked it out nicely.
Bixby is designed to learn, so every time you use a regional dialect, the phone is learning and storing that information in its wider database in the cloud. So expect the result to improve over time.
Bixby Voice future
Samsung sees Bixby Voice rivaling Siri, Alexa and more in the future – so once the service is embedded in more products from Samsung, you’ll be able to tell your TV remote control to play a song on Spotify, or tell your phone to put on an air conditioning.
In simple term, Samsung will keep expanding a number of apps that Bixby Voice can work with, so the third parties can also support the service. It means you will be able to search through songs on streaming sites using voice, and possibly connect to non-Samsung devices also.
So keep your eye on your Bixby Home screen and when the update arrives, start asking random questions to know what Bixby can do for you.