Samsung today announced the introduction of the Media Control API for streaming video and content companies to create their own apps for Samsung smart televisions. Initial partners include Netflix, HBO Now, Spotify, and Hulu. Starting this December, we are releasing a new voice media control APIs so that content partners can leverage Bixby to create voice enabled TV applications, said Samsung director of smart TV service business Pedro Freitas. The Bixby assistant has been rolled out for Samsung smart televisions over the course of the past year. The news was announced today at the Samsung Developer Conference being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, alongside Infinity Flex, Samsungs first foldable phone. Also announced were the One UI user interface for smartphones, new features for the SmartThings IoT app, and the Bixby Developer Center to help third-party developers create voice apps with Bixby. The Ambient Mode SDK was also announced today for developers to create experiences that flash on Smart TVs when theyre not in use. Today, ambient mode for Samsung smart televisions today can do things like display rotating art.
Bixby, Samsungs multi-platform voice assistant, will support German, French, Italian, and Spanish by the end of the year. Also forthcoming? A store for third-party apps — capsules, in Samsungs vernacular — called Bixby Marketplace. Game-changing technologies … are now commercially available. Breakthrough AI capabilities that seemed impossible are now within reach, DJ Koh, president of Samsungs mobile communications business said onstage at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco today. Our shared challenge is to use these shared breakthroughs from now into next. The progress update comes months after Samsung formally launched Bixby 2.0, an improved version of its digital assistant, alongside the Galaxy Note9. It gave developers greater control and customization over the way Bixby interacts with in-app interfaces and set the stage for deep integration of Viv, the technology platform Samsung acquired in 2016. In August, Samsung announced that Bixbys voice smarts have expanded to more than 200 markets globally, including Canada, the U.K., Australia, and South Africa. But despite the recent progress, Bixby is lagging behind its rival assistants, including Apples Siri, which is conversant in 21 tongues (not including regional variants); Microsofts Cortana, which can speak eight languages; and Googles Assistant, which as of this summer will be able to converse in five languages, with another four expected by the end of the year. Amazons Alexa currently only supports U.S. and U.K. English, in addition to German, Spanish, and a handful of others. The latest version of Bixby has better natural language processing, faster response times, and built-in noise reduction tech. Its also more conversational; if you ask it about upcoming concerts over Labor Day weekend, for example, itll remember the date range for future searches. Bixby is at the heart of the Galaxy Home, Samsungs upcoming smart speaker that will compete with the likes of Apples HomePod, Amazons Echo lineup, and the Google Home. Like its competitors, the Galaxy Home can play music, control smart home devices, and seamlessly switch music between supported smartphones, televisions, and entertainment systems. And it boasts premium hardware, including AKG speakers and an omnidirectional microphone array. Samsungs soon-to-be-released smart speaker isnt the only Bixby-powered device in its portfolio. In a bid to expand the voice assistants footprint, Samsung late last year announced that it would make Bixby available on a variety of devices — namely Samsungs Smart TV and Family Hub refrigerator product lineups. It also unveiled Project Ambiance, a prototype dongle with a chip and microphone that can be added to speakers or TVs.