Samsung has come out ahead of the Galaxy S8 launch to say that Bixby Voice, one of the cornerstone features of the new phone's AI assistant, won't be available until sometime this spring.

With its intelligent interface and contextual awareness, Bixby will make your phone more helpful by assisting in completing tasks, telling you what you're looking at, learning your routine and remembering what you need to do. Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on April 21. Bixby Voice will be available in the U.S. on the Galaxy S8 later this spring.

In a statement, the company says while some Bixby features, including the clever Vision contextual camera helper, the Home interface embedded in the launcher, and Reminder, a place to store notes and to-dos, will be available when the phone goes on sale April 21, the ability to navigate the phone's UI and perform actions using voice won't come until "later this spring."

Samsung is making it clear Bixby isn't just a Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri competitor, but "a conceptually new philosophy to the problem [of virtual interaction]," according to a blog post written by the company last month. "It is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us." This is a very hard thing to do, and is likely why Samsung wants to make sure the experience is great for everyone.

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In her briefing with Samsung last month prior to the phone's announcement, Florence Ion described Bixby Voice as "your own 'push to talk' for artificial intelligence."

It's not a search engine like Google Assistant; it is an assistant, and it can navigate around your smartphone the way that you normally would with your own fingertips. Bixby will support almost every task you ask it to do, like cropping a photo, applying a filter, or sharing it with your favorite social network. Eventually, you'll be able to talk Bixby through your process without looking at the screen at all.

Bixby is also supposed to complete tasks, even if you don't shout out the entire command. The idea is that as it's learning what you do with your device, it's also learning how to stay three steps ahead in anticipating what's next. And if it doesn't understand everything that you asked, it can get you most of the way there instead of failing and asking you to try again.

Samsung isn't saying what is holding up the release of Bixby Voice, which will only be available in the U.S. and Korea when it launches, but we expect it is being done with ample weight on the effects of this announcement.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+


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