Samsung announced last night that it is finally bringing a full Bixby experience to Galaxy S8 users in the United States. This means that customers will be able to access the voice capabilities of Samsung’s personal digital assistant on their smartphones.
“There are over 10,000 functions on our smartphones, but each day, people may use less than five percent of them,” Samsung executive vice president Injong Rhee says in a prepared statement. “Our goal with Bixby is to make it easier to use our phones, creating the best possible user experience for our customers. That’s why we created Bixby – an intuitive new way to do more things with your phone.”
That’s debatable. Samsung really created Bixby so that it has an alternative to Google Assistant for a possible post-Android world in which the firm moves its devices to Tizen. And that, along with a number of functional issues, makes Bixby a heck of a lot interesting than Samsung claims. But if you’re using a Galaxy S8 (or S8+), you’re pretty much stuck with Bixby. And Samsung has worked to block any workarounds that enable Google Assistant usage.
In any event, Samsung announced Bixby as part of the Galaxy S8 launch event. Two weeks later, however, Samsung revealed that full Bixby functionality, which includes voice control, would not be available to customers in the US at launch. At the time, the firm promised to add this functionality later “this spring.”
Samsung sort-of hit that date by opening up a Bixby Early Access program ahead in late June. But that release was limited to a small audience.
But today, full Bixby functionality, including voice control, is broadly available in the United States. “Bixby [is] fully integrated across several core Samsung apps,” Samsung notes, “with plans to continuously expand to support additional languages, features, third-party apps and devices.” To get this new functionality, just press the Bixby button on your Galaxy S8 or S8+ and accept the update. It is available via AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular in the United States, Samsung says.