Samsung Upgrades Bixby Speed, Adds On-Device Speech Transcription
Samsung has sped up the performance of the Bixby voice assistant by shifting its processing operations from the cloud to the device and has added speech-to-text transcription as a feature. At its annual Unpacked event, the company revealed that Bixby’s speed has jumped by more than a third thanks to the decision, which further proves that Samsung isn’t giving up on Bixby any time soon.
The decision to revamp Bixby to operate without exchanging information through the cloud makes the “on-edge” audio processors enormously faster because there’s no time waiting for information to be sent or received and digested at both ends. As a result, Bixby is 35% faster to respond to a human voice and to handle requests made vocally. The on-device operations now also include the transcription feature. Bixby Voice could already complete transcriptions and read texts aloud but relied on the cloud to process the data. The change to Bixby made the local transcription a possibility. It’s not a totally new idea, as Google, Amazon, and Apple all have at least some devices where their respective voice assistants handle queries largely on the device.
Samsung Unpacked centered on the new Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Z smartphone, but Bixby is still important enough to the company to warrant the mention and the upgrade. The performance enhancements are just the latest in the series of improvements Samsung has been making to Bixby, despite once rampant rumors that Samsung was dropping Bixby in favor of Google Assistant. Earlier this year, the company rolled out a major upgrade to the voice assistant. Most recently, Samsung adjusted Bixby, so it no longer requires training to understand its wake word. The AI is also now more personalized in its suggestions. The flurry of doomsaying over Bixby precipitated by Samsung shutting down Bixby Vision and reassigning the Bixby developer marketing team, among other moves, fueled the rumors. But, even when not the center of events, Samsung still makes time to improve and show off Bixby’s latest changes, even if they don’t involve the other recent Samsung rumor of Bixby being replaced by a virtual human named Sam.