Bixby is both the highlight of Samsung year and also its biggest disappointment. Bixby Voice, the only part of Bixby that does matter, came late and was underwhelming. To be fair, it was a completely new venture for Samsung and a company exec admits it didn’t have the necessary big data for it. And to its credit, Samsung has been consistent in pushing and improving Bixby, which it is now pushing to over 200 countries around the world, allowing anyone with a compatible device to speak with Bixby. Presuming they can fluently speak US English or Korean.
Those are naturally the first two languages that Bixby knows and, sadly, the only two languages it still does know. While other voice-controlled assistants have had a head start, they also only roll out said assistants if they can already speak the local language. Samsung, instead, is casting a bigger net in the hopes of getting more features, building up Bixby’s knowledge, and improving the service in turn.
Presuming it can understand you, Bixby will promise you the world. Your smartphone’s world, that is. The idea is that anything you can do with touch you should be able to do with voice. That is, if the app supports Bixby. Anything from cropping images to pausing playback is all fair game for a compatible app, of which there are relatively few.
But Bixby goes beyond more than single action commands. You can string up command into a natural English (or Korean) phrase, like “send that last photo to Mom” and it will know that you want to share the last photo taken by the camera app and attach it an email to send to a contact. You can even set “scenes” where you lump together disconnected but loosely related actions into one, like muting the phone and setting up an alarm when you say “good night”.
While Bixby Voice is now rolling out globally, it is limited to the only 2 devices that support it: the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+. Samsung is, of course, promising that it will expand Bixby to more languages and devices, but, as always, the question is “when?”.