The Samsung Galaxy S8 could have all the answersThe Samsung Galaxy S8 is set to be one of the most intelligent smartphones ever.
The next flagship from Samsung, which is due to be released in April, will feature hugely improved hardware and quite possibly an all-new curved design.
The device is also expected to come with an all-new AI voice assistant service that hopes to take on the likes of the iPhone’s Siri and Amazon Echo’s Alexa that will look to solve all your problems, direct from your phone.
But the new virtual assistant almost didn't make it to the Galaxy S8 – as reports now claim that Samsung nearly ditched the feature.
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Leaked photos, concept images, and renders Sun, January 1, 2017
Samsung Galaxy S8 looks set to be the smartphone to beat this year. Following a swathe of rumours from the Chinese supply chain, a number of graphic designers have cooked-up high-resolution renders of what the smartphone could look like, when it launches in the UK in April 2017
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Samsung Galaxy S8 will get a dramatic new design, with no buttons, and an edge-to-edge display
Rumours of a super-smart AI system packed within the Samsung Galaxy S8 first began last year after the company announced the acquisition of the Viv Labs.
Now, it seems that the new assistant, named Bixby, is almost certain to appear in the new device.
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.
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.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 could feature a completely new design from the company
Now, reports from Samsung’s home nation of South Korea have claimed that Bixby will also help inspire the next generation of super-smart AI assistants.
Korean news site The Investor learnt from a Samsung earnings call that the company wants to “collaborate as well as compete” with the likes of Google in order to further the development of AI going forward.
“Samsung and Google will have to continue to maintain their strategic partnership to nurture the AI and the market for the emerging technology,” the paper quoted Lee Kyeong-tae, a member of Samsung’s mobile division as saying.
This goes against past rumours which suggested that Google was looking to block the installation of a separate smart assistant on the Galaxy S8 in order to prioritise its own system.
The Google Assistant is currently only available on the Pixel and Pixel XL devices
Google of course has its own new voice-controlled AI service, Google Assistant, which made its debut with the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones later last year.
The feature, which is currently exclusive to those two devices, will form a key part of Android Nougat 7.1, meaning other devices running Google’s software will be able to enjoy it soon.
The Google Assistant is summoned by saying "Ok Google" when pressing and holding on the Home Button at the bottom of the display.
Talking to the virtual Assistant takes the form of a text conversation, with speech bubbles displaying your questions and Google’s responses.