Programmatic Lunch

The second edition of Samsung's Bixby puts it at the centre of your home

Tyrone Stewart

Samsung BixbySamsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby, hasn’t had the best time of things since its introduction earlier this year, and that’s ignoring the fact that it was always going to with the Google Assistant already present on its Android devices.

Bixby was pushed as being the big selling point for the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which both went on sale earlier this year. However, as the devices were released, Bixby wasn’t yet ready for the English-speaking world – and, quite clearly, even less ready for any other languages.

Eventually, some three months after the Galaxy S8 went on sale, owners in the US were given the ability to use Bixby’s voice capabilities. The following month, in August, Bixby was rolled out across the world – but still only had the capacity to understand US English and Korean.

Now, after enduring that rollercoaster ride, Samsung has decided to present Bixby 2.0 to the world. The second edition of the virtual assistant puts a focus on the connected home. Powered by the cloud, it is capable of acting as a hub to control smartphones, TVs, fridges, home speakers, and other connected devices.

“Now, we are ready to take Bixby to the next level. Bixby 2.0 is a bold reinvention of the platform,” said Eui-Suk Chung, EVP and head of service intelligence of mobile communications business at Samsung. “A reinvention aimed at transforming basic digital assistants from a novelty to an intelligence tool that is a key part of everyone’s daily life.”

In addition, Bixby 2.0 will be open to third-party developers so that they can develop and build ways for people to interact with Bixby through their own services. To start, Samsung will launch a private beta program with Bixby SDK for select developers, before slowly increasing the number of developers that the SDK is available to.

“Bixby 2.0 will ultimately be a marketplace, for intelligence,” said Chung. “A new channel for developers to reach users with their service, not just on mobile devices, but through all devices. Over time, we will roll out a variety of revenue models to maximize our partners’ business opportunities in this new paradigm. Hopefully making it as fruitful as the move from feature to smartphones was for our partners.”

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