Samsung Bixby Lives! New Features Quash Premature Demise Rumors
Samsung unveiled new features and upgrades to Bixby during its developer conference this week. The voice assistant’s shift to on-device processing and the new Bixby Home Platform cement Bixby’s place within Samsung, despite the persistent rumors of its sale or shutdown.
Samsung Bixby is at the core of more than 300 million devices now, according to the company. Samsung highlighted how it had upped Bixby’s speed by 35% by moving its processing from the cloud to the device, a change first previewed at the Samsung Unpacked event earlier this year. The on-edge processing combines with new and improved deep neural networks to raise the efficiency in handling tasks and allows the AI to transcribe audio to text without the cloud. The biggest news for Bixby developers came in the form of the new Bixby Home Platform. The platform acts as a kind of language processing filter for the voice assistant, allowing it to consider the context of connected devices when fulfilling a request.
“What used to require multiple voice commands is now possible with only a single command that the device understands and performs accordingly,” AI Client Development Group principal engineer Joohwan Kim explained. “The update being announced will make it possible to use for developers to harness multiple contexts when adding devices. Smarter device control has been made possible by Bixby Home Platform, an intelligent layer which sits between Bixby Voice – which provides natural language understanding and issues commands – and SmartThings’ Internet of Things (IoT) layer – which provides connection and operation between devices. Commands that previously had to be made individually for separate devices can now be more efficiently undertaken using the Bixby Home Platform.”
These improvements and updates should put paid to the 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 and adjusted it no longer require training to understand its wake word. The AI is also now more personalized in its suggestions. While the concern over Bixby’s future raised by Samsung shutting down Bixby Vision and reassigning the Bixby developer marketing team, not to mention Viv co-founder Adam Cheyer leaving, made sense. These updates give a firm footing to Bixby’s future. “Bixby is at the center of digital connected experiences,” Samsung CEO and president DJ Koh said, making it clear that Bixby is still the key to the company’s future strategy. That said, there is still anticipation of virtual human Sam replacing or joining Bixby.