Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant wasn’t greeted with the enthusiasm that Samsung might have hoped it would when it first launched. Arriving a few months ago with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, many saw it as a step behind competing products like Google Assistant and Siri.
Even after receiving its delayed English voice component, Bixby is still yet to offer a critical function that Google Assitant — which comes as standard with basically all Android phones — does not. News out for South Korea today suggests that some Bixby improvements could be coming soon, though.
According to The Korea Herald, Samsung is expected to reveal a new and improved version of Bixby, Bixby 2.0, at the company’s San Francisco Developer Conference on October 18. The Korea Herald also notes that Version 2.0 may integrate with third-party services and devices other than smartphones. Given Samsung’s developments in the Smart Home market, it’s likely that we’ll see some kind of action there.
Samsung recently employed a new Head of Service Intelligence at its South Korea headquarters, Chung Eui-suk, to help develop Bixby and other AI services. Some analysts have suggested that the move would see Chung essentially replace Rhee In-jong, Samsung Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer who had played a significant role in Bixby’s development, as he stops working on the digital assistant. Samsung has denied the claims.
Meanwhile, Samsung Mobile chief Koh Dong-jin was quoted as saying “We will supplement the incomplete parts of Bixby 1.0 at Bixby 2.0,” during the recent Galaxy Note 8 launch in South Korea — an admission that Bixby is currently in an unfinished state.
So, it seems that Samsung is definitely at work on a Bixby upgrade, but whether it will be announced next week remains to be seen. Stay tuned.