The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is likely due to launch in August, with a release following in September. While the exact date isn't confirmed, Samsung has confirmed that whenever it does, it will bring with it the second generation of Bixby.
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Bixby is Samsung's own attempt at a smart voice assistant, and a rival to the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and in some ways, Siri. Samsung first announced Bixby 2.0 in October 2017. Samsung's head of AI Centre Gray G Lee has now recently told The Korea Herald that the new and updated version, which is claimed to feature improved natural language processing, faster performance and better resistance to interfering noises.
The improve natural language processing will likely be thanks in part to Samsung's acquisition of Viv, a personal assistant developed by Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus. In previous demos, Viv has been shown to understand more informal commands and follow up conversation.
Bixby certainly needs some improvements. In our testing with the Galaxy S9, it didn't correctly understand some words and phrases and Bixby Vision didn't correctly recognise some pretty simple everyday objects. Not only should the next version solve these issues, but it will also be the version that Samsung begins rolling out to its other connect products, such as refrigerators and washing machines.
However, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can't be ignored. Not only are both accomplished at recognising words and phrases, but they're also both available in a vast range of smart home products which leaves the question, "can Bixby catch up?". The integration between Samsung's own products could well pan out to be effective, but it certainly has a lot of work on its hands.
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