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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