Samsung Announces Bixby 2.0

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Mobile with 16 Comments

Samsung Announces Bixby 2.0

Today, Samsung announced the first major update to its digital personal assistant, called Bixby 2.0.

“Bixby 2.0 will be a fundamental leap forward for digital assistants and represents another important milestone to transform our digital lives,” Samsung executive vice president Eui-Suk Chung writes. “Bixby 2.0 is a powerful intelligent assistant platform that will bring a connected experience that is ubiquitous, personal, and open.”

According to Chung, today’s digital personal assistants are too limited and can be used for basic tasks only—to set reminders and timers, answer trivia questions and tell jokes, and so on. The goal, he says, is to make Bixby more powerful and more essential.

“We see a world where digital assistant play a bigger role, an intelligent role, where one day everything from our phones, to our fridge, to our sprinkler system will have some sort of intelligence to help us seamlessly interact with all the technology we use each day,” he says.

Bixby 2.0 is the next step towards this future, at least for Samsung. So where the first version, introduced with the Galaxy S8 earlier this year, was a closed system that was integrated only with a few carefully-selected partners, Bixby 2.0 will be open, Samsung says.

“We know Samsung cannot deliver on this paradigm shift by ourselves,” Chung explains. “It can only happen if we all, across all industries, work together, in partnership. With Bixby 2.0, the doors will be wide open for developers to choose and model how users interact with Bixby in their services across all application domains e.g., sports, food, entertainment, or travel – the opportunities are truly endless.”

Bixby will also be open to non-Samsung devices, apparently—mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, and home speakers are specifically mentioned—and Samsung has goals, like Essential does, to become the “control hub” for our devices ecosystems.

“Bixby 2.0 will ultimately be a marketplace, for intelligence,” Chung adds. “A new channel for developers to reach users with their service, not just on mobile devices, but through all devices. Over time, we will rollout variety of revenue models to maximize our partners’ business opportunities in this new paradigm. Hopefully making it as fruitful as the move from feature to smartphones was for our partners.”

I’m not quite sure I see how this can succeed, to be frank. Despite the massive success of its phones, Bixby only has 10 million active users, compared to nearly 150 million active users for Cortana. (And many, many more for Google Assistant and Siri.) And it’s not clear that the market can even sustain the number of assistants we already have. So … we’ll see.


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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Samsung Announces Bixby 2.0”

  1. thechise

    I am embarking on my first Samsung journey with the Note8. I wish it wasn't on here but since it is and Samsung is hellbent on adding their own software I am trying to make myself use it. It is actually not bad but to your point I think we are at assistant overload

    • wolters

      In reply to thechise:

      Absolutely agree on assistant overload. I myself and trying to move myself to just Microsoft and Google services. As much as I like Amazon Echo and Alexa, it's just easier to keep it with Google Assistant with an occasional Cortana use. I also save money from not having to pay for Amazon's music service.

      Bixby isn't too bad but I just don't want to continue having so many mixed services.

      • chrisrut

        In reply to wolters:

        I think interoperability is the key - the next big thing in UI development - like having a staff at your beck and call, rather than just a single helper. The ability to leverage intelligence engines out there is an integral part of/extension of "natural language" because an intelligence that can't use other intelligences would be pretty darn stupid. And needing to learn the customs of and interact with a multitude of robots is exactly the kind of BS busywork we humans need and want to delegate to tools.

        Ideally, I'd like a single assistant - my alter-ego and proxy (which as I mentioned elsewhere I'd like to name) - which can interact with any and all intelligence units out there, to get things done by and for - me. Or you. Or whomever.

  2. rameshthanikodi

    Exciting and relevant.

  3. Winner

    I'm guessing DOA for the most part.

  4. Jim Lewis

    On a Galaxy Note 8, I can ask Bixby to find settings and it usually does a decent job. I can program Bixby to automatically change settings and it can carry out a sequence of steps with one verbal command. So in this regard, it beats any other assistant out there from the major players in allowing me to feel comfortable with a new phone and a new OS from the git-go. I think Paul underestimates how many TV's, how many refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, Samsung sells world-wide. These could all be "connected things" in the IoT world and Samsung does not want to cede that control to someone else where, whady'a know, Google just makes its assistant work More Better with LG devices than Samsung's, etc.

  5. Martin Pelletier

    Would have been better if it had more than 2 languages.

  6. chaad_losan

    And it still can't.

  7. ChesterChihuahua

    It's the answer to a question no one asked.

    When people beg you to be allowed to disable the hardware button that launches a feature, you know you've got a winner.

  8. Mcgillivray

    I'm surprised that Apple never got into naming Siri with numbers every year. Siri 2, Siri 3, Siri X etc....

  9. Tony Barrett

    Samsung are great at hardware, no question. It's the software part that's questionable. But, they're the number 1 phone manufacturer in the world, they make a whole range of appliances and white goods that sell by the million. In theory they have a base to build Bixby on already in place. Whether their own assistant has the brand clout to carry it through though is the hard part - you'll have to prise people away from Alexa and Google Home first.

  10. Wolf

    It's pretty humorous that they are presenting this as a great paradigm shift for assistants. It's a shift for Samsung, for sure, but it seems that Google, Amazon, and Cortana are all well along on this road for a while now.

  11. chrisrut

    Bixby! Alexa! Siri! Cortana! Google! ARRRRRRGH!!!!!

    Enough with the names already. I WANT TO NAME MY ASSISTANT. Geesh... how obvious is that?

  12. Winner

    Perhaps it's a bigger thing in Korea where Samsung is based. Probably not gonny fly in the US very much.

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