It's also launching in five European languages. Samsung is widening Bixby's reach in a big way. The company is opening its AI assistant to developers, giving them the power to build their own Bixby-based apps. A Bixby Marketplace will even help developers make money from the intelligent companion. There will be a Bixby Developer Studio tool for writing Bixby-friendly code. The company is also expanding just where you can use Bixby. It's introducing support for five European languages, including British English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. While that sounds like a simple addition, it's absolutely crucial to the company's plans. Bixby-enabled devices like the Galaxy Home and smart fridges can't be truly global devices if they're only available in a handful of countries.
Samsung has been suffering through a lot of catch-up in the voice assistant race, but at its annual developer conference the company placed a major emphasis on how its expanding the scale and effectiveness of its Bixby assistant. The company announced that Bixby would be coming to more devices and more languages with third-party developers finally gaining access to building functionality for the AI assistant. For the first time we are opening Bixby to all of you, our developers, Samsung EVP Eui-Suk Chung announced onstage. The company is pledging to bring the assistant to watches, refrigerators, tablets, washing machines and more, and in the coming months will be adding support for five additional languages. While these promises seemed to sit a bit further down the line, the company was ready to talk about their Bixby developer kit during the keynote. The company announced the release of the Bixby Developer Studio, a set of dev tools thats way ahead of the other guys, Viv Labs CEO/ Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus told the crowd. The company will also be introducing Bixby Marketplace, a home for users to discover the new functionality of their voice assistant. Bixby may have a long road ahead to catch up with other companies, but third-party integrations are something that none of the major voice assistant platforms have nailed. If Samsung can continue to invest in the platform and court developers with sophisticated tools, they may have better luck in gaining third-party integrations that feel more ancillary.
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.
Samsung today announced the launch of a toolkit for businesses and third-party developers to create voice apps compatible with intelligent assistant Bixby. The Bixby Developer Center will allow developers to create Bixby voice apps using AI-powered software to understand when to apply machine learning to automate tasks. Bixby is also expanding to speak Spanish, German, Italian, and French next year. The assistant currently only speaks English and Korean. A Bixby Marketplace is also in the works to sell and promote the work of third-party developers. Also today Samsung unveiled its first foldable smartphone the Infinity Flex, an API for developers to make smart TV apps with Bixby, and a series of updates for SmartThings, Samsungs IoT app. The announcements were made onstage at the Samsung Developer Conference being held November 7 and 8 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The launch of Bixby Developer Studio was highly anticipated following comments by Samsung mobile division CEO DJ Koh to CNBC in September. Bixby is available in the Samsung S8 and S9 smartphones, smart televisions, the Samsung Family Hub smart refrigerator, and soon in the Galaxy Home smart speaker. Samsung has some catching up to do to create a third-party ecosystem around its intelligent assistant, and new features for Bixby was a main topic during the keynote speech at SDC. By comparison, more than 50,000 skills made primarily with the Alexa Skills Kit are in the Alexa Skills Store, and hundreds of Google Assistant actions have been made with Dialogflow or the Actions on Google platform since 2016. In addition to being slow to build a third-party ecosystem, Bixby, which first became available in early 2017, has been generally considered far behind competitors like Amazons Alexa and Google Assistant in its set of features and capabilities. However, as the maker of 500 million devices a year, Samsung is one of the largest home appliance makers on the planet, and its definition of success may differ greatly from other tech companies deploying AI assistants. Since launch, Bixby has expanded to include things like Bixby Vision for visual search and Bixby Makeup, which lets you try on makeup using augmented reality. The second iteration of Bixby, dubbed Bixby 2.0, made its debut one year ago at SDC and was first included in Galaxy Note9. As intelligent assistants continue to ascend to a more prominent part of their day, consumers will do what they always do: Theyll find their favorites and theyll stick with them, Kittlaus said. As long as those favorites continue to deliver value they become the default. Bixby 2.0 is made to understand context, deep link with apps, remember your preferences, and serve as part of Samsungs effort to move from a content-centric world to a context-centric world, as Samsung head of product innovation Yoon C. Lee recently told VentureBeat. Bixby 2.0 builds upon the intelligence of Viv Labs, a company created by Siri cofounders Adam Cheyer and Dag Kittlaus that Samsung acquired in 2017 for a reported $215 million. More to come
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.
Samsung is going to start letting app developers plug into Bixby, and hardware companies will be able to build the voice assistant into their products, too. In the year-and-a-half since Bixby launched, Samsung has already brought the assistant to phones, fridges, TVs, and more, but theyve all been Samsungs own devices. With todays news, other companies will be able to start building it into their own hardware as well, either as an alternative to Amazons Alexa and Googles Assistant — or, more likely, as an additional option for users who want to live in Samsungs ecosystem. Consumers may have more reason to embrace Bixby in the future, too, since third party developers will start being able to build services that plug into it. Its not entirely clear what to expect or what theyll look like — Samsung showed a demo of Bixby pulling up the various interfaces youd need to book a hotel stay — but Samsung is promising to make Bixby so open that developers will be able to make anything that Samsung itself could. Dag Kittlaus, CEO of Samsung-owned Viv Labs, says its the most powerful assistant toolkit ever made. Way ahead of the other guys, Kittlaus says. And its not even close. Samsung also plans to launch Bixby in a few new languages in the coming months, including German, Italian, and French. Itll also launch Spanish localized for Spain and English localized for the UK; those two languages are already available, but only with US localization. Smart assistants as a whole still arent all that smart, but Bixby in particular has been seen as among the weaker options. It was criticized at launch, and owners of some of Samsungs newest phones still complain about a dedicated Bixby button that they cant remap. Samsung is moving quickly — much quicker than Apple, for instance — to build out what Bixby is capable of doing by granting deep access to third parties. Its not clear how itll distribute these third-party Bixby features or how itll ensure that theyre safe and functional. But if it works out, Bixby could start looking a lot more like Alexa, which has more than 50,000 third-party skills.