Samsung Will Add the Bixby Voice Assistant to Older Galaxy Smartphones
Samsung will bring its Bixby voice assistant to older Galaxy smartphones, according to a response from the company on its forum. The addition will bring a voice assistant back to those phones that have just lost the older S Voice voice assistant.
S Voice to Bixby
S Voice was Samsung’s original voice assistant, used to control a phone’s functions much like Siri did early on with Apple products. The voice assistant’s functions became part of the first edition of Bixby when the Galaxy S8 smartphone debuted. Then, a year after that, the much more advanced Bixby 2.0 arrived to replace them both. With multiple iterations of Bixby servings as replacements, Samsung announced that S Voice would be entirely discontinued at the beginning of June. That left the pre-Galaxy S8 Samsung smartphones bereft of any voice assistant at all. Happily, for owners of those phones, that gap in support appears to be temporary, with reports on the Samsung forum that Bixby will be added to the former S Voice phones soon. According to the comments from the official Samsung representatives, those who own phones that used to support S Voice will eventually be able to use the power button to launch Bixby once the software update arrives. When that will be is not clear, however, beyond “soon.”
Bixby For All
Likely as a result of those phones without any Bixby support, S Voice actually outlasted the version of Bixby by a few months. Samsung ended support for the original Bixby in December. The addition of the new Bixby to existing phones provides an abrupt expansion to the potential customer base for Bixby’s voice apps, called capsules. In October, Samsung executive vice president of R&D Eui-Suk Chung said there were more than 160 million Samsung Bixby devices. There’s no available number for how many more will be added by encompassing the older smartphones, but it’s not going to be a small number. If even a small percentage of those who can now use Bixby users deciding to try out and maybe purchase celebrity voices or voice apps, that’s a win for Samsung. That goes double if it means they are not using Google Assistant or a different voice assistant on the phone anymore. The upgrade makes sense, although it remains to be seen if Bixby has a chance to beat out its voice assistant rivals.