Samsung Galaxy S8: Move over Siri, Bixby is a voice assistant to rival Apple


Bixby will take on Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant (Source: Getty)

Samsung is taking on Apple in the smartphone stakes again with a new feature to rival the voice assistant Siri.

Bixby has been revealed as its very own voice triggered digital helper powered by artificial intelligence, which is expected to appear not only in its next flagship smartphone the Galaxy S8, due to launch next week, but a whole host of the South Korean tech firm's products - from washing machines to fridges.

Head of research and design at the tech firm InJong Rhee said Bixby "will be a new intelligent interface on our devices" but "fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market".

Read more: Watch out Alexa: Google's AI voice assistant's been released into the wild

It promises to be able to complete any task that can be done with a tap or a swipe as well as being able to switch between the two during tasks, while commands will not have to adhere to strict phrases, with Rhee claiming it has the ability to fill in incomplete information.  

Samsung's next device will come with a dedicated button for Bixby, however, he suggested the full functionality will not appear on the S8.  

"There has been a lot of excitement and speculation about what we will deliver with the launch of the Galaxy S8 later this month, especially due to the advancements in artificial intelligence." he said.

"We do have a bold vision of revolutionising the human-to-machine interface, but that vision won’t be realised overnight. Ambition takes time."

Third parties will also have access to developing applications and services with Bixby.

And as well as taking on Apple with the Siri-like assistant, it will also take on the like of Amazon and Google in the home.

"Starting with our smartphones, Bixby will be gradually applied to all our appliances. In the future you would be able to control your air conditioner or TV through Bixby," said Rhee.

But, Google Assistant was unleashed on a number of devices early this year, including Samsung. The rival to Amazon Alexa stole the show at Mobile World Congress, integrating with new Samsung tablets and smartphones from Nokia, Huawei, LG, Sony and HTC. 

Read more: Watch out Siri? Samsung's next phone will have an AI assistant

"We think Bixby will struggle against Google Assistant," said Edison Investment Research analysts Richard Windsor. 

"If Bixby can truly fulfil the promises that it is making, then it will almost certainly will be better than Google Assistant. However, we think that this is a very big ask given that Edison research has found that AI excellence to date has been a factor of time and data volume."

He pointed out that Google "has been crunching data for 20 years" and "consequently, we think that compared to this highly ambitious billing, Bixby is going to fall very far short of the promises that it has made." Though, he added that Bixby may have more potential on other devices.