Samsung’s Bixby hasn’t exactly had a smooth experience as it began its path into the world of digital assistants. Competing against the likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, it had large shoes to fill if it wanted to make an impression on anyone. Especially since all of the phones that supported Bixby already had a personal assistant available at launch (ie, OK Google). One of the most common issues was Samsung’s idea of forcing Bixby on everyone with a hard-button built right into their Galaxy S8/S8+ phones that was so easy to accidently press when reaching for the phone (which has since finally been given the option to disable this button).
They haven’t shed a single thought of letting go of it just yet though, as Samsung continues to push towards trying to improve Bixby so that it can grow into something much larger. Now, with Bixby 2.0, they are aiming to go down the same road as Microsoft when it comes to a multi-device experience with their assistant. Samsung smart-fridges (Family Hub refrigerator) and TVs for an example, will begin shipping with Bixby support starting in 2018.
The idea is to allow our digital assitant to connect us with everything in our daily lives, for a unified experience with better language support and predictive capabilities. Your smartphone will become only an extension to a much wider technology that follows you everywhere. Kind of like Jarvis (Iron Man movies), only you don’t get to customize the name to your liking (you’re stuck with “Bixby” for now, if you so choose to use it).
“It will be more personal, with enhanced natural language capabilities for more natural commands and complex processing, so it can really get to know and understand not only who you are, but who members of your family are, and tailor its response and actions appropriately.” (Eui-Suk Chung, executive VP and head of Service Intelligence of Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics)
Like Microsoft’s Cortana, they are trying their best to make sure that Bixby knows everything about you. Maybe even when your milk is about to expire (I know of a few people here who could really use that kind of motivation to throw stuff out of the fridge in the break area).
It doesn’t just end with smart-fridges and TVs. They aim to integrate Bixby into speakers and just about every smart device they offer or can get their hands on by working with third party developers. With their Bixby SDK, they want to open doors for developers to be able to use Bixby as a new channel to grow their business. This is exactly how Amazon does this for businesses with their Alexa assistant.
So who knows, Bixby might grow from being that annoying assistant that keeps popping up when you don’t want it on your phone, to an Alexa-level and appreciated assistant that helps us manage our daily activities and schedules. Most of us here have commented at one point or another about hoping to have our own personal Jarvis. Something more personal and realistic to talk to, like having a human secretary/assistant follow us everywhere. It will be interesting to see which of the giants will successfully develop a working model on such a scale–as long as it doesn’t turn into Skynet of course.