Samsung today introduced new features to its digital assistant, Bixby, that are aimed at making it more responsive and intelligent. With new custom wake-up words, AI-generated voice clones, and follow-up command support, the company hopes to pull more users into its ecosystem. The update comes as AI-powered services reach a fever pitch with the rise of generative text and art services.
The biggest feature that’s immediately available to all users is Bixby Text Call. This is a feature that lets you answer a phone call by typing your words and having Bixby read them out to the caller. It came to Korea last year, and the company is expanding it to English users this February.
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In Korea, Samsung is rolling out a feature that lets you clone your voice so that the Bixby text-to-speech voice will sound like you, and answering those pesky admin phone calls can be automated away. Expansion to other languages is planned in the future. Samsung is also rolling out follow-up requests for Korean users, again with expansion planned in the future. More broadly, on-device AI is being made available to increase speed and allow for commands to be carried out offline. There’s no need to use data to set a timer or turn off the flashlight, for example.
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“When Samsung first launched Bixby as a voice assistant, it was part of a vision to create a human-to-machine interface that makes life easier and can advance over time with Samsung Galaxy innovation,” YoungJip Kim, Samsung’s mobile executive vice president and AI team head, said. “Today, we introduce updates to build a more intelligent interface that is proactive and adaptive, giving people greater control over their mobile experience.”
Samsung’s Bixby assistant has long lived under the shadow of Google Assistant, which also powers Samsung’s phones. Whether Bixby is redundant or not is a question that pops up rather often. We’ve concluded that Google Assistant is better than Bixby for a vast swath of reasons, but Samsung’s constant iteration and dogged refusal to give up are admirable.
Samsung says these updates are available to the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Z Fold 4, and Z Flip 4 running One UI 5.0. Not all these features are going to be available to all devices everywhere immediately. If you’d like to create a custom voice, you’re going to need to be using the S23, S23 Plus, or S23 Ultra. The new on-device mode is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Korean, though, so it should see wider adoption than a few of the other features.
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