Samsung says Bixby’s still not dead

April 1, 2024

Bixby’s not dead yet, apparently. A Samsung executive tells CNBC that the company is “working so hard” to equip its voice assistant with AI features, suggesting that the company sees the likes of Gemini as competition — not a replacement.

That’s good to know, because some of us were starting to wonder. Earlier this year as Samsung announced a boatload of new generative AI features for its flagship phones, its voice assistant was scarcely mentioned. Samsung and Google also made a big deal about the Galaxy S24 phones using Gemini Nano — Google’s on-device AI model. It wouldn’t have been a stretch to see Samsung replace Bixby with Google’s Gemini-powered assistant, but apparently, that’s not the plan.

Samsung’s Won-joon Choi, executive vice president of mobile, said to CNBC, “I believe that we have to redefine the role of the Bixby, so that Bixby could be equipped with generative AI,” adding that it would need to be “smarter” and able to converse more naturally. As it stands, Samsung isn’t the only tech company scrambling to incorporate AI into its voice assistant — Apple is expected to announce an AI-ified Siri at this year’s WWDC.

In the meantime, the Galaxy S24’s AI features made their way to last year’s phones by way of a One UI 6.1 update. Galaxy AI, as the whole package is called, is free for now. If Samsung does plan to charge for its AI features in the future, it’ll have to offer a lot more than what it’s capable of now. Whatever that vision looks like, Bixby appears to be part of it.

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