Samsung has soft-launched Bixby, its new artificial intelligence engine. The technology will see the South Korean company go head-to-head with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
It was expected that Samsung would announce Bixby alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8, which is due to launch on 29 March.
Given that Bixby has been something of an open secret within the industry for some time, it would appear that Samsung decided there would be little to be gained by waiting. Instead, Samsung is seeking to explain its technology, presumably with the intention of making its eventual public demonstration more effective.
Although Google and Amazon had a head start in the field of AI, Samsung has outlined three areas where it believes Bixby has an advantage: completeness, context awareness and cognitive tolerative.
Bixby aims to be a more complete platform than rivals by fully enabling all functions of the applications that it interfaces with. So if an application supports Bixby, any task that can be completed by standard touch controls will also be available via voice.
Samsung also claims that Bixby is better able to understand context than other AI rivals. Bixby should therefore be able to interact with an application whatever state it is in, without forcing the current task to be restarted.
When Samsung talks about cognitive tolerance, the company is referring to Bixby’s ability to interpret voice commands.
Bixby has been designed to be able to handle requests that do not come in the expected syntax. This is something that is likely to become increasingly important as the number of supported voice commands increases.
How Bixby is received will ultimately depend on its real world performance – something that should become clear with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8.