WHEN THEY WERE handing out brains to virtual assistants, Bixby wasn't just at the back of the queue - it was at the wrong careers fair. Samsung's attempt at a virtual assistant is nowhere near as bright as Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana - and that's pretty damning given most of them aren't exactly what you'd consider a genius in the conventional sense.
Samsung seems acutely aware of this - the fact that nobody is using it is the kind of clue that even Bixby itself might spot - and has plans to play catch up. The answer? According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung plans on opening up Bixby to the development community, allowing developers to create features for it. The report indicates that the company will announce the move at its developers' conference next week.
The trouble with this strategy is that Amazon and Google already let developers play with their respective virtual assistants, so it's a bit like trying to catch up five laps into a Grand Prix by adding an internal combustion engine to your car. But hey: better late than never. Maybe: for developers, it just makes sense to make features for the dominant player in the market, and that most certainly isn't Samsung.
In any case, Samsung will announce that developers can create ‘capsules' for Bixby, which feels a bit like a less catchy version of Alexa's ‘Skills'. The company certainly needs something to turbocharge Bixby, which is supposed to be the centrepiece of the company's upcoming Galaxy Home smart speaker.
That still doesn't have a release date, and Bixby's dimness is probably the main stumbling block. With the smart speaker space growing, Samsung will be hoping its dominant space in the smartphone world can get people to give Bixby a second chance - which suggests that the company's faltering sales figures in the phone market couldn't be coming at a worse possible time… µ
Another week of Google news in brief
It was nice knowing you, sort of
Third time unlucky
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