Samsung starts rolling out Siri rival Bixby in US English

Following multiple delays stemming from lack of big data, Samsung on Wednesday said its new personal digital assistant Bixby is now available in U.S. English to customers in the United States and Korea via a software update for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 smartphones. The company will add support for additional languages and devices “in the near future.”

At launch, Bixby will work with select core Samsung apps.

Support for additional native and third-party apps like Google Maps, Play Music, YouTube and Facebook will be coming at a later stage via Bixby Labs, said the South Korean conglomerate.

“Bixby understands natural language, so users can complete tasks by using everyday speech, rather than pre-set and inflexible commands,” according to Samsung.

“Through iterative deep learning technology, Bixby can improve over time to recognize the user’s different preferences and ways of speaking.”

Invoked via a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the device, or by simply saying “Hi Bixby”, the personal assistant helps users complete tasks, tells them what their camera is looking at thanks to computer vision, learns their routines and remembers what they need to do.

Users can ask Bixby to complete simple tasks like turning on the flashlight or taking a selfie, or complex tasks such as “remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store” or “find photos I took in Spain and create an album called ‘Vacation.’”

“Because Bixby is deeply integrated into the device—rather than in a standalone application—users can easily switch between voice, touch or text commands, providing a unique experience over current voice assistants on the market,” reads the release.

Samsung a year ago acquired Viv Labs, the developer behind Apple’s Siri, but their AI technology won’t be used in Bixby before the personal assistant becomes more complete.

Samsung is also rumored to be working on a Bixby-powered smart speaker.