SAMSUNG HAS ROLLED OUT its AI-powered virtual assistant, Bixby, to Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets in the US.
We knew it was coming, and Samsung announced on Tuesday that users can activate the service now by holding the dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ handsets, or by simply barking 'Hi Bixby' at their phone.
Bixby was originally set to launch at the same time as the smartphone duo earlier this year, but Samsung was forced to delay its arrival after admitting that the AI assistant was "struggling to comprehend English syntax and grammar", a description that also applies to INQ journalists who drink at lunchtime.
In a blog post announcing the rollout, Injong Rhee, EVP and head of software and services at Samsung Mobile, said: "There are over 10,000 functions on our smartphones, but each day, people may use less than five percent of them. The features on your phone are only useful if you know how to find them.
"Our goal with Bixby is to make it easier to use our phones, creating the best possible user experience for our customers. That's why we created Bixby - an intuitive new way to do more things with your phone."
To begin with, Bixby will be integrated mainly into Samsung's own services, although a handful of third-party apps including Google Maps, Google Play Music, YouTube and Facebook will be supported from the get-go.
The Bixby update will be available starting for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular, Samsung said. There's no word yet as to when it'll be rolling out to users in the UK.
Samsung is reportedly planning to launch a Bixby-fueled speaker later this year, in a bid to take on Apple's HomePod. According to reports, Samsung's upcoming Google Home rival, codenamed 'Vega', will launch in time for Christmas, with the firm having been granted patents for the mooted device in its hometown of South Korea. µ
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