Samsung Will End S Voice Support in June
Samsung is shutting the door on its S Voice virtual assistant in a couple of months. S Voice will be discontinued starting June 1, a small but significant shift for the company as it focuses even more on Bixby as its voice interface.
S Voice Silenced
S Voice was once a voice assistant comparable to Apple’s Siri. Once launched through an app it could handle requests to make calls, set reminders, give directions, and other basic tasks assigned to it by voice. The rudimentary voice assistant was subsumed into Bixby 1.0 when the Galaxy S8 smartphone came out. Bixby’s first iteration, for all of its flaws, could handle far more than S Voice. The revamped Bixby 2.0 that came out a year later blew both out of the water when it comes to both features and ease of use.
Starting in June, that won’t matter because S Voice won’t operate even on those phones where it still exists. Anyone who tries to run S Voice will get an error message. For that small subset of people who have a Samsung smartphone that has S Voice and who were still using it will have to either upgrade to a device with Bixby. They can also just switch to using Googe Assistant, which is available on every Android smartphone.
Following Bixby 1.0
Though S Voice is older by a few years than Bixby 1.0, Samsung’s support for the virtual assistant is lasting several months longer. Samsung ended support for Bixby Voice on Android 7.0 and 8.0 starting in January to nudge people to use Bixby 2.0. Samsung Galaxy smartphones that came out before the Galaxy Note 9 lost their voice assistant unless they made the required update. As Bixby 2.0 is better at completing tasks and understanding human speech, it wasn’t supposed to be a difficult decision.
Samsung sees Bixby as a counter to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant in a way that S Voice never was for Siri. Bixby’s personalized operations for third-party apps, in particular, go beyond its mainstream rivals thanks to its Natural Langauge Categories. The NLCs allow Bixby to recommend capsules based on requested categories and lets third-party capsules be run as part of Bixby. According to what Samsung executive vice president of R&D Eui-Suk Chung said in October, there are more than 160 million Samsung Bixby devices. The company’s decision to cut away the earlier voice roots of Bixby 2.0 is a logical way for Samsung to concentrate resources where it feels the future is. As Bixby adds celebrity voices and other new features, Samsung will be able to center all the support needed around the voice assistant.