Samsung’s new virtual assistant will make using your phone easier

Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are all known for having smart, artificial intelligence-equipped digital assistants, and now you can add Samsung into that mix. Today, the company has officially announced its own spin on the virtual assistant, and it’s calling it Bixby.

Samsung’s approach to an AI assistant (or “agent,” as the company likes to call them) is a bit different than what you or I might be used to from Siri or Cortana. Instead of being a database that you fire questions at or tell to do specific things, Bixby is meant to be a helper on your device, to make it easier to access to accomplish the litany of tasks that modern gadgets such as smartphones are capable of. A less charitable interpretation might be that Bixby exists to solve one of the most difficult challenges in all of tech: make Samsung’s own poorly designed software and interfaces easier to use.

Bixby will first appear on the Galaxy S8, expected to be announced later this month. The phone will have a dedicated button to launch the assistant, but Samsung says that its initial capabilities will be limited to a handful of preinstalled apps, with others added over time. It will also be limited to just English and Korean at first, though there are plans to add other languages such as Chinese and US Spanish shortly after launch.

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