Samsung has acquired a Greek startup called Innoetics, whose text-to-speech and voice-to-speech technology could bring much-needed improvements to its voice assistant.
Samsung’s botched Bixby rollout stopped me from buying the Galaxy S8
Innoetics is a relatively small startup out of Greece specializing in text-to-speech and voice-to-speech services. Its award-winning work includes technologies that can not only listen to a person speaking but also read out other unrelated texts in that very same voice. Indeed, it sounds like the sort of technology that Samsung’s struggling voice assistant could benefit from. Well, Samsung seems to agree, and that’s why the South Korean conglomerate has decided to buy Innoetics.
According to Tech Crunch, the deal officially closed last Friday, and although details are unknown for now, Samsung is said to have paid a little under $50 million for the acquisition. Samsung has since released a vague statement on this deal:
Samsung has agreed to acquire Innoetics. Samsung is always exploring ways to deepen our relationships with companies like Innoetics whose technologies present an opportunity to strengthen Samsung’s capabilities.
Of course, we will simply have to wait and see what Samsung does with Innoetics’ services, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Bixby might be the biggest beneficiary. The struggling voice assistant was announced (prematurely) with the Galaxy S8 duo, and even after months, Korean remains the only available language for Bixby Voice. Rumors claim that Samsung is having trouble perfecting the English-speaking version of its AI assistant due to a lack of necessary data and miscommunication between its engineering teams in the US and Korean headquarters.
Innoetics’ technology – combined with the Viv Labs acquisition from last year – could lend a helping hand to Bixby, something that is increasingly being criticized as the worst feature of the Galaxy S8. The good news is that the South Korean electronics company seems to have big plans for Bixby, unlike S-Voice, and will probably dedicate a significant amount of resources to make it better. After all, its future smartphones will reportedly come with a dedicated Bixby button much like the one found on the Galaxy S8, and the company is said to be building a Bixby-powered speaker to compete with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home.
I, for one, would be interested in seeing what kind of improvements this acquisition will bring to Bixby and whether they will be enough to change its fate.
I, for one, would be interested in seeing what kind of improvements this acquisition will bring to Bixby and whether they will be enough to change its fate. What about you? Do you think Bixby has room in the world of AI assistants? Let us know!