The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ were announced at the Mobile World Congress 2018, but that wasn’t all Samsung had in store for the world’s largest telecom convention. DJ Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief, told members of the press that Bixby 2.0 will launch as soon as August — around the time the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is expected to be released. Samsung’s virtual assistant on the Samsung Galaxy S9 can already recognize food and serve up nutritional information, apply lipstick with augmented reality, and provide fully voice-guided setup instructions, but soon it will be able to do much more.
“For Bixby 1.0, we focused on a fast rollout to the market. Expanding the ecosystem was difficult. So Bixby 2.0 will strengthen this aspect and we are working intensely,” he said. “In December last year, we began taking applications for the public beta version. So far over 800 companies have applied and are testing it.”
He then added, “at this speed, I think we will be able to unveil Bixby 2.0 when we launch the Galaxy Note 9.”
Version 2.0 of Samsung’s virtual assistant focuses on integration with other connected household devices. Samsung plans to roll out Bixby on its smart TVs, starting with its next generation of OLED TVs set to be unveiled next month. There are also plans to upgrade the assistant’s speech recognition — it’ll be able to pick out multiple people at a time based on the tones of their voices, according to Eui-Suk Chung, the executive vice president and head of software and AI, which could come in handy for the recently announced Bixby-enabled Samsung smart speaker.
“Bixby won’t be tied to a specific device. The ultimate goal is to make it ubiquitous,” said Chung at MWC 2018. “Samsung is unique in that it has TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, phones, PCs, and almost every consumer electronics. We also make the module chips that goes in them needed in IoT (Internet of Things). AI speaker will also be one among them.”
It’s clear the amount of faith the company has in its virtual assistant, along with the level of seriousness that the company is pursuing its expansion. While there have been some missteps along the way, the future looks bright for Bixby 2.0.