Samsung’s Bixby assistant will finally be getting third-party skills

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Samsung’s Bixby assistant will finally be getting third-party skills
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Third-party support has made Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa powerhouses in the world of voice assistants, and Samsung’s own Bixby will be getting the same treatment in November.

Samsung first announced its intentions for Bixby third-party developer support and the release of its software developer kit (SDK) in September, with CEO DJ Koh stating that he “does not want to see just six months or nine months performance, […] this is like a long journey”.

Now, a report from the Wall Street Journal is claiming that the South Korean company will launch a series of what it calls ‘Capsules’ at its developer conference on November 7-8; the equivalent of Amazon Alexa’s “skills”.

More specifically, these Capsules will potentially allow applications such as Spotify and Netflix to integrate their functionality more seamlessly with voice commands issued to Bixby. The same goes for smart home products and applications.

Home is where the Bixby is

Bixby was first launched with the Galaxy S8 via a controversial dedicated button and has made its way into each Samsung flagship handset launched since, including the latest Galaxy Note 9.

Samsung has since announced its own smart home hub and speaker in the form of the Galaxy Home and stated that we’d learn more about the smart speaker at the aforementioned developer conference.

With all things considered, it makes a lot of sense for Samsung to reveal third-party developer support at this conference, but stay tuned to TechRadar as we cover every detail from the upcoming event.

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Should Samsung keep the Bixby button?

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Should Samsung keep the Bixby button?
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Samsung has already announced that it will be unveiling its newest flagship smartphone on the 25th of February. And now the company has turned towards teasing that incoming handset, basically confirming it will be called the Galaxy S9 (and Galaxy S9+), while also making sure we know that the camera is going to be a huge focal point for the company this year.

Samsung is probably pretty excited to lift the curtain off what it has been working on. And plenty of customers are excited to see the next big thing, too. Which is why the rumor mill has so much traction.

Just recently we got to see and hear all about the Galaxy S9, many days ahead of the official announcement. That’s par for the course, to be sure. We typically know what a new phone has to offer long before a company announces it, and the Galaxy S9 was not going to be the device to break that trend.

As such, barring any major changes, we know the processor, amount of RAM and built-in storage, and what the camera situation is going to be for both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. There is a lot to look forward to!

And then there’s the Bixby button.

This is a feature that Samsung launched with the Galaxy S8 and Bixby in general. Bixby itself is marketed as a feature that goes beyond the standard digital personal assistant, going as far as to let users actually control specific functions on their phone just by using their voice. Plus, Bixby Vision is included, too, and the standard digital personal assistant features for good measure.

But the inclusion of a physical button, which serves only as a means to summon Bixby, didn’t necessarily go over all that well. It wasn’t dinged as heavily as the unfortunate positioning of the fingerprint reader on the back of last year’s flagship smartphone, but it seemed to be pretty close in some reviews and feedback.

So when these latest renders of the Galaxy S9 surfaced, I had to double check to see if the Bixby button was still around. These aren’t the only leaked renders of the upcoming handset, to be sure, but back then I wasn’t thinking about it. Now, though, closer to unveiling, I couldn’t help but wonder if Samsung was going to keep it around.

I wasn’t surprised to see it there, to be honest. Samsung has invested a lot of time and money in Bixby, and it wants (needs?) the feature to take off for Samsung customers. After all, the company wants Bixby everywhere. The same way that Amazon wants Alexa everywhere, and Google wants Google Assistant everywhere.

So maybe the big question should be whether or not Samsung is going to allow Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ owners to remap the button. Keep the button, and have it be mapped to launch Bixby out of the box, but if customers don’t want to use it let them use that button to launch something else.

What do you think? Should Samsung ditch the Bixby button altogether, or let customers remap it? Or is this a button that should be all Bixby or nothing? Let me know!

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In advance of this week’s Galaxy Note 8 unveiling, Samsung updates Bixby globally

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In advance of this week’s Galaxy Note 8 unveiling, Samsung updates Bixby globally
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With the Samsung Galaxy Note 8’s unveiling this coming Wednesday pretty much a sure thing, Samsung has started rolling out updates for its personal assistant Bixby on a global basis. Updates to Bixby, Bixby Global Action, Bixby Dictation, Bixby Wakeup and Bixby PLM have been seen in markets such as the U.K., South Africa, India, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Argentina, Afghanistan, Iran, the UAE, Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia  and Pakistan. While compatible handsets in those markets received the updates, Samsung still needs to press the button that will allow these Bixby related features to start working in the aforementioned markets.

Samsung could be getting ready to activate Bixby Voice in countries outside of the U.S. and South Korea, where it is already operational. There is some speculation that Bixby Voice will be enabled globally on August 22nd, the day before the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is announced. One report has the dictation feature working now in Germany, although the quality of the transcription apparently was nothing to write home about (okay, okay; pun intended). In other markets where the update was pushed out yesterday, like the U.K., the feature is not working.

If you want to see whether or not the dictation feature is working for you, and you don’t live in the U.S. or South Korea, press the Bixby key on your Samsung default QWERTY and start dictating. If it doesn’t work (which is likely), try again after Samsung unveils the latest version of its high-end phablet. The odds favor that it will work after the Galaxy Note 8 is introduced to the public.

source: SamMobile via AndroidAuthority

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