We already knew that Samsung wants to make a digital assistant a centerpiece of the Galaxy S8 — the phone maker has said as much in public. But a new rumor circulating is giving us a better idea of just how much that assistant will feature into the S8 experience.
Sammobile says the Galaxy S8 assistant will go by the name of Bixby and that it will be incorporated into almost of all the native apps that will come on Samsung's phone. There's no source for this report other than Sammobile saying it comes from "information that we've received," though that Bixby name has come up in previous reports about Samsung's digital assistant efforts.
It's the widespread reach of the digital assistant that's the story here, though. Sammobile says Bixby will be system-wide, allowing you to do things like summon up pictures and videos and the Gallery app that meet spoken search criteria. If true, it would give Bixby powers similar to those of Siri and Google's assistant; it would also make for a much more powerful assistant than S Voice, which is currently found in Samsung' flagship phones.
S Voice lets you use your voice to dial contacts, dictate text messages and perform other voice-powered controls. This latest Sammobile report and Samsung's own comments about its digital assistant ambitions suggest that Bixby will be much more powerful. Bixby will replace S Voice in the next Samsung flagship phone, Sammobile says.
A more powerful digital assistant has been in the cards for future Samsung phones since earlier in 2016 when Samsung bought Viv, an AI platform developed by one of Siri's creators. Samsung has made no secret of its desire to use the Viv purchase to build an AI-based open ecosystem across its devices and services with third party app makers adding capabilities such as making mobile payments with your voice.
It remains to be seen what Google thinks of all this, given the software giant's efforts in building a voice-power Google Assistant for Android. A report from Business Korea last week suggested a 2014 patent agreement between Google and Samsung could put the kibosh on Samsung putting a competing service on an Android-based phone. Then again, Samsung phones feature Samsung Pay, a mobile payments feature that competes against Google's own Android Pay, so we could see a future where Bixby and Google Assistant co-exist in a similar way.