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Samsung acquires another AI startup, probably to improve Bixby

Samsung has acquired an AI startup focusing on deep learning—likely with an eye to improving its digital assistant Bixby.

Published onMarch 6, 2018

  • Samsung has reportedly acquired AI startup Kngine for an undisclosed fee.
  • The company’s deep learning technology is likely to be used in order to help improve Bixby.
  • The next version of Samsung’s digital assistant, Bixby 2.0, is expected to launch later this year.

Samsung has acquired AI startup Kngine, nabbing a 100-percent stake in the company, according to a report from The Investor (via Sam Mobile). The website broke the news earlier today, though how much Samsung paid for the company wasn’t disclosed.

Kngine launched in Egypt in 2013 as the developer of mobile solutions based on deep learning. It has a self-titled intelligent engine that, according to its website, can “be used to automate customer service, power voice interfaces and drive enterprise search.” The acquisition is expected to help Samsung bolster its AI assistant Bixby, which has generally disappointed critics since it launched with the Galaxy S8 last year.

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Kngine says its engine “crawls the world wide web, enterprise documents, books, FAQs and even customer service logs” to gather information which it can use to help answer queries. It is able to collect and rank possible answers to these queries, and then present users with the most plausible for a given question.

We don’t yet know what Samsung plans to do with Kngine, but with information retrieval being such a significant part of digital assistants, particular Google’s Assistant, it’s clear that Samsung could benefit from integrating this kind of tech into Bixby.

The South Korean manufacturer is tipped to reveal a more advanced version of Bixby, Bixby 2.0, later this year alongside a range of smart speakers and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The assistant is likely to feature improvements achieved with thanks to some of Samsung’s recent acquisitions, which include Viv Labs, Reactor Labs, Expect Labs and Vicarious.

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