SAMSUNG HAS officially announced it's opening up its Bixby voice assistant to developers.
As we reported earlier this week, the company has plans to try and make its last-place-languishing voicebot a bit less niche, with plans to bring it to more devices and offer more functionality through third-party plugins.
Bixby Developer Studio will offer a set of tools that delegates at Samsung's Dev Conference were told is "way ahead" of its rivals.
In addition, a Bixby Marketplace will let users find skills for their own Bixby instance in a one-stop-shop.
Samsung is planning to bring Bixby to products from other divisions in the coming year, with everything from fridges to tablets on the list, and a number of new languages will roll out: British English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
We hope it's a bit more successful than when English was repeatedly stopped from launching as there wasn't enough data for Bixby to learn from.
Samsung's announcement isn't going to give Bixby a huge amount of new kudos, and it still seems destined to be in the shadow of Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana and Siri, but it shows that Samsung remains committed to forging ahead with its own path, and maybe, just maybe, third-party integration will help to bring Bixby on par with its rivals.
Also announced was a developer kit for the company's SmartThings IoT platform, which remains one of the most universal smart home hubs, offering support for ZigBee, Z-Wave and WiFi.
Meanwhile Bixby, which grew out of its predecessor S-Voice to launch 18 months ago, could start to appear on non-Samsung devices for the first time, as Samsung will need to ensure that its choices won't just appeal to Galaxy phone owners.
In both cases, overcoming language and protocol barriers is vital for Samsung in keeping its products globally relevant in the age of smart tech. μ
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