Those of you waiting to try out Samsung’s new digital assistant will have to remain patient for a little longer than expected. As reported yesterday, Bixby, which will make its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, won’t offer all of the features we were expecting at launch in the US. The Vision, Home, and Reminder features will be available from the start, but the voice control functionality won’t be available for some time. It should make its way to the flagship devices “later this spring”, although an exact date has not been given yet. European S8 owners will reportedly have to wait until Q4 for Bixby.
The decision to delay the full launch of Bixby makes Samsung look incompetent.
The decision to delay the full launch of Bixby in the US comes across as very unprofessional and makes Samsung look incompetent. The company has been hyping its digital assistant ever since its introduction but apparently ran into some problems that are responsible for the delay.
Based on the fact that the tech giant has been in business for a long time now and is currently the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, it shouldn’t be making mistakes like these. Especially after last year’s Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, which didn’t do its reputation any good, the last thing it needs is a incomplete voice assistant.
It would have been better if the South Korean company just waited to release Bixby in the US via an update — you know, when it’s ready — rather than to offer Galaxy S8 users a half-baked service that doesn’t support voice control, especially when the fully functional Google Assistant is also on board.
A digital assistant that can’t be used with voice commands probably shouldn’t even be called a digital assistant. That’s because the main value of services like these is the ability to perform certain tasks hands-free. If you need to press a button to use Bixby and then it can’t even handle voice commands, you may as well not bother. By the time Bixby is ready no one will care any more.
A digital assistant that can’t be used with voice commands probably shouldn't even be called a digital assistant.
However, it is true that if Samsung decided to release its digital assistant later on when it is ready, the dedicated Bixby button found on the left side of the devices wouldn’t make much sense. Especially because the Galaxy S8 series doesn’t officially have the option of remapping the button to allow it to open a different application. There is a quick solution for that, as you are able to remap the button with the help of a free app found in the Google Play Store. But even if it were too late to move the button, just write some software that lets you natively remap it to Assistant or the camera or something and then add Bixby as an option later on.
The tech giant clearly has big plans for Bixby, but there’s no denying it’s off to a bad start. Not launching the full version of the service on its flagship smartphones — which cost an arm and a leg — isn’t something we would expect to see from a large, reputable company like Samsung. It’s hard to imagine that Bixby will be able to compete with Google’s Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa based on the problems the company is currently experiencing. Time will tell.
S8 users will likely start using Assistant instead and be less likely to switch to Bixby later.
The delay doesn’t make Samsung look good in the eyes of consumers and casts Bixby in a bad light from the get-go. But launching in an unfinished state could also have some serious consequences. Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus users will likely start using Assistant as soon as they get their device, as it does offer a lot more value. At least for now.
Those happy with Google’s digital assistant will get used to it and probably won’t be as willing to switch to Bixby once the voice control feature finally becomes available. Samsung really just should have waited to launch Bixby on the Note 8 instead, because it’s a slap in the face to S8 buyers that’s likely to have worse consequences than not releasing it at all.
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