The Samsung Galaxy S8 could feature the smartest voice assistant yet
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is shaping up to be one of the smartphone events of the year.
Due to be unveiled in just a few weeks time, the Galaxy S8 looks to be Samsung’s most powerful handset to date, offering a major hardware upgrade along with Android 7.0 Nougat.
Samsung has also planned a number of exclusive features for the Galaxy S8, but reports have now claimed that one of the headline killer apps may not be quite as powerful as first expected.
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It has been widely reported that the Galaxy S8 is set to feature a smart voice-activated assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri.
The service, known as Bixby, looks to play a major part in making the Galaxy S8 one of the most interactive and intelligent mobile devices ever.
Rumours surrounding Bixby first emerged last year when Samsung acquired Viv Labs, the startup founded by some of the minds behind Siri, but many of the platform's exact features remain relatively unknown.
The service was meant to replace the fairly basic S Voice app currently found on many of Samsung’s top smartphones, but now it seems the two services may intertwine more than thought.
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The Samsung Galaxy S8 should be released later this year
Thats because a report from the Wall Street Journal claims that Bixby, “will rely on an upgraded version of Samsung’s homegrown virtual assistant service, dubbed S Voice, rather than on Viv Labs technology.”
This seems to suggest that S Voice will remain the driving force behind Bixby, despite Viv Labs having displayed far more potential going forward.
The report follows rumours that Samsung had been set to completely ditch Bixby, but instead will now work with the likes of Google to forward AI development.
Bixby will reportedly be able to use the cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S8 to scan your surroundings, surfacing useful information about what it is looking at.
According to reports, Samsung will include a Bixby button within its camera app that immediately launches a search function.
This will allow the Samsung Galaxy S8 to identify the objects it is pointed at – and will be able to direct you to online retailers where you can buy the item.
The search functionality will reportedly be closely tied with Samsung Pay.
Amazon's first smartphone – the Fire Phone – had a very similar feature, which let customers use the camera to instantly find listings online.
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Is this a close look at the Samsung Galaxy S8?
Other reports have claimed that Bixby will also sync up with the camera app on the Galaxy S8 for a number of crafty tricks.
Pointing the camera at text will let the assistant quickly scan the words and transform it into a digital format.
This feature would have has a number of useful applications – not least being able to quickly copy-and-paste from real-world menus, signs, and more.
It could also allow the Bixby assistant to translate restaurant menus and more, like the standalone Google app does on Android and iOS.
For everything else – we'll just have to wait and see.