On Tuesday, Samsung Electronics launched the Chinese version of its artificial intelligence (AI) digital assistant called Bixby. During the launch, Samsung announced that users of Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8 can expect to have access to the new feature from 30th November.
Bixby has four major functions which are to see, talk, remind and recommend. Thus, the AI-based technology is able to respond to voice commands and even answer questions. Now, you can tell your device to do things like "set the alarm for 6:30 am tomorrow" or ask it "What is the weather in Beijing? "
Commenting on the launch, president of Samsung Greater China, Gyehyun Kwon noted that the announcement marked a great milestone for Samsung in China and especially in the development of AI technology for Chinese customers. Kwon said, "Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned in his report at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that the country will promote integration of the internet, big data and artificial intelligence to drive the growth in economies, pointing out AI industry will become a new growth point to promote national development." In addition, he said: "As a global leader in AI, Samsung is also actively responding to the policy directions and hopes to make a small contribution to China's AI development and the related industries."
He stressed that Samsung was taking a different route from the norm of smartphone companies focusing on the aesthetics of phone design and development. Samsung, on the other hand, intends to focus on developing AI technologies that would promote human society. Kwon was of the strong opinion that "In the coming era of the 5G network, the internet of things will become a trend in the future and AI technology will become the core technology of industrial development."
Perhaps the best distinguishing feature of Bixby as said by Zhang Daijun, president of Samsung R&D Institute China, during the launch is that "Compared with other voice assistants in the market, Bixby talks in a more natural way, just like your best partner."
Another distinguishing feature of Bixby is that the AI Digital assistant works not only with its producer apps, that is Samsung apps, but also supports over 18 third-party apps. So, popular Chinese apps like iQiyi for video streaming, Alipay for internet payment and Baidu Map for map and navigation, are third-party apps that work with Bixby.
Launching Bixby on the device can be done in several ways like through the camera, simply quick pressing the Bixby dedicated button on the left side of the phone, followed with voice commands or long pressing same button to launch the app. Users can expect Bixby on the Samsung clamshell phone W2018, when the high-end phone launches soon.