Samsung has announced the next major version of its Bixby voice assistant at Samsung Developer conference (SDC) 2017. The new voice assistant is Bixby 2.0 and Samsung promises that the intelligent assistant platform will bring a connected experience that is "ubiquitous, personal, and open." Samsung says that it sees a larger role for digital assistants in our lives, other than answering mundane questions, setting reminders, and setting timers.
Samsung sees a world where digital assistants are intertwined with everything from phones, to kitchen appliances, to the sprinkler system keeping your grass green. Being able to preheat the oven to 425-degrees for your pizza without stopping your movie or game is undeniably appealing.
Samsung's Eui-Suk Chung, EVP, Head of Service Intelligence of Mobile Communications Business, wrote, "To understand where we are going with devices, it is important to understand how far we’ve come. It is hard to believe, when you think back to just a decade ago, how we used our phones. It was likely a feature phone, which was primarily used to make calls and use a limited number of apps. But I knew, we at Samsung knew, that there were greater possibilities for the mobile phone."
Chung says that he believes that we are on the cusp of the "next major tectonic shift" and he feels that Bixby 2.0 will be part of that. Bixby 2.0 will be ubiquitous and available on any and all devices. This will allow Bixby to be the control hub for a device ecosystem and installed on phones, TVs, refrigerators, and other connected home technology. Chung goes so far as to say "any other connected technology you can imagine."
Bixby 2.0 also promises to be more personal with enhanced natural language capability allowing for more natural commands and more complex processing. Bixby 2.0 aims to get to know you and your family and tailor its responses and actions to each person. Samsung says that the most important aspect of Bixby 2.0 is that it will be open.
Chung writes, "We know Samsung cannot deliver on this paradigm shift by ourselves--it can only happen if we all, across all industries, work together, in partnership. With Bixby 2.0, the doors will be wide open for developers to choose and model how users interact with Bixby in their services across all application domains e.g., sports, food, entertainment, or travel – the opportunities are truly endless."
The private beta program for the Bixby SDK kicks off today and is available for select developers. Samsung plans to increase the number of devs in the beta over time and will eventually make the SDK available to all developers. Samsung wants Bixby 2.0 to be a new channel for devs to reach users with their service on all devices, not just smartphones and tablets. Samsung's current version of Bixby is installed on the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, but so far it hasn't been that impressive for many users.