Gear S3 smartwatches get Bixby as S Voice goes silent

Few tears will probably be shed for S Voice's departure this month. Back when Siri was still just starting out, Samsung's homegrown voice-activated helper seemed like a good idea. But like many of Samsung's experiments, it has fallen by the wayside and has become practically unusable, especially on smartwatches. Fortunately for Samsung fans, Bixby is around and it's coming to the last Samsung smartwatches that still bore the "Gear S" name.

Many Gear S3 owners worried that the launch of the Galaxy Watch meant Samsung would quickly forget about its older devices as it usually does. Fortunately, those worries were a tad misplace or at least premature. Samsung actually rolled out its One UI for the last of the Gear S wearables and it is now landing the final missing piece.

Verizon's software update pages for the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier reveals that the latest System 7 update brings the rumored arrival of Bixby to the smartwatches. This comes just in time when those same smartwatches would be losing their one and only voice-control app. While Bixby may not be as featured as Google Assistant, it is still miles ahead compared to what S Voice was able to do.

The System 7 update also brings other new features, including the option to list apps in, well, a list rather than the rotary view Samsung's smartwatches have become known for. You can also check your Bluetooth earbuds' battery levels but it seems only Samsung's own brand is supported.

The update should be rolling out to owners of these two Gear S3 smartwatches outside of Verizon, though, as always, it won't all happen instantly. Whether Bixby will make Samsung's smartwatches suddenly more attractive is still debatable but at least users now have a better option than S Voice in the absence of Google Assistant.