Samsung begins rollout of Bixby for Galaxy S8 users in South Korea

Virtual assistant Bixby may have technically made its debut alongside Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 flagships, but the full extent of the AI’s capabilities are still something of a mystery. 

That’s because in its initial state, Bixby had a virtual gaping hole – its voice-control component was nowhere to be found. And although users can still fill that gap with the Google Assistant, that’s not what Samsung really wants you to use on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

That’s about to change, however, with the South Korean company beginning the rollout of that voice component, starting with customers in its home country.

Samsung sent users of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones a notification regarding Bixby going live, then officially enabled the voice service at 1pm KST today.

Although Samsung hasn’t announced a timeline for Bixby’s rollout to other markets, the fact that the phone maker has it up and running in Korea does make us quietly hopeful.

The Wall Street Journal did report that although the English version of the voice-activated virtual assistant wasn’t ready for launch with the phone last month, it could arrive on US shores by the end of May.

Step aside, S Voice

Bixby isn’t Samsung’s first attempt at creating a voice assistant for its smartphones. S Voice was bundled along with the Galaxy S5 three years ago – offering Siri-like features, albeit in not as wide-ranging or polished a form.

Samsung is seemingly doing its utmost to ensure Bixby is a standout this time, integrating additional features like Bixby Vision and Bixby Home to the latest Galaxy S8 series handsets.

And with the rollout now beginning, all these features could soon add up to an enhanced user interface for the phones – although it remains to be seen if it will live up to expectations.

[Via ZDNet]

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.