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Samsung Bixby: Reports point to big data setbacks, smart speaker ambitions

We now know why Bixby has been delayed in the US and a couple of new details regarding Samsung's upcoming smart speaker.

Published onJuly 4, 2017

As you may know, Samsung’s digital assistant that made its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus does not offer all of the features the company was promising in the US. The Vision, Home, and Reminder features have been available from the start, while the crucial voice control functionality still isn’t available. Although Samsung did release an early preview a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks to a report by The Korea Herald, we know why the full launch of Bixby in the US has been delayed. A Samsung spokesperson said that developing Bixby in English is taking more time than originally expected mainly because of the lack of the accumulation of big data, which is required for deep learning technology.

But that’s only part of the story. Another reason for the delay is the poor communication between engineers in the US and those based in South Korea, at the company’s headquarters. Because of geographical and language barriers, the progress in developing the English version of Bixby is much slower when compared to the Korean version, sources within the company said.

This Samsung Galaxy S8 case is for all you Bixby haters out there

In other Bixby related news, we now know a little bit more about the upcoming smart speaker that will be powered by Samsung’s digital assistant. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the project is codenamed Vega. Unfortunately, there’s still no specific info regarding the features of the device or its release date.

What is known is that Vega’s development is reportedly being slowed by the sluggish progress of Bixby. Before the smart speaker can hit the market, the software has to be ready and work as advertised, otherwise releasing it doesn’t make any sense. Samsung could afford to launch a limited version of Bixby on the Galaxy S8, but can’t do the same when it comes to the upcoming speaker.

When it does hit the market, it will be facing some tough competition. The two biggest players are currently Amazon with its lineup of Alexa-powered speakers and Google with its Home device. Apple has also announced the HomePod, which is expected to go on sale in December, while Andy Rubin took the wraps off the Essential Home back in May.

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