The day has, at long last, arrived for Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners: Bixby voice capabilities for US English is now available in the United States and South Korea.
A quick software update is all it takes to bring the long-awaited voice assistant to Samsung flagship smartphones. The update means that the hitherto useless hardware Bixby button now has a purpose, and Galaxy S8 and S8+ users can start to enjoy the benefits of taking control of their phones with their voices.
For now, English language support for Bixby is only going to be available in the US and South Korea; there's no word at the moment about when it will spread to other parts of the English-speaking world. But we probably shouldn’t expect Bixby to be tethered to just smartphones for too long. As Samsung says, "Bixby's intelligent interface was designed to power users' devices, apps and services, allowing easy control of smartphones and beyond," so the rumored Bixby-powered speaker seems quite likely once the little linguistic niggles are sorted out.
Launching Bixby's voice capabilities, Samsung says:
With full voice capabilities for U.S. English, Bixby can help users get more out of their connected lives. With voice capabilities, Galaxy S8 and S8+ users can easily activate voice commands to get more done in their day -- simply and efficiently. Users can ask Bixby to complete simple tasks, like turning on the flashlight or taking a selfie, or complex tasks, like "remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store," or "find photos I took in Spain and create an album called 'Vacation.'"
At launch, Bixby will be fully integrated across core Samsung apps, so almost anything you could do with touch or typing, you can now do with your voice, including multi-step, and cross-app requests. Support for additional native and third-party apps will be available via Bixby Labs, which includes select applications that are offering preliminary integration with Bixby. Because Bixby is deeply integrated into the device -- rather than in a standalone application -- users can easily switch between voice, touch or text commands, providing a unique experience over current voice assistants on the market.
In the video below, Samsung shows off some of the capabilities of Bixby:
You can find out more about Bixby at the Samsung website, and you can benefit from the new features by checking for updates on your handset.