There are so many features the Samsung Galaxy S8 has going for it; it’s almost bezel-less, it has the best display on the market, and it’s a wondrous performer. But one thing it does not have going for it is its own virtual assistant. It’s been two months since the launch of Samsung’s big phone release and there’s still no Bixby in sight.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung will miss the “later this spring” window it had originally promised. From the article, which is behind a paywall:
The English-language version of Samsung Electronics Co.’s new voice-activated virtual assistant won’t likely debut in the U.S. until at least late June, according to people familiar with the matter, more than two months after the launch of the South Korean tech giant’s latest high-end smartphone.
The report states that the reason Bixby is delayed is because the English-speaking version is actually struggling to understand its syntax and grammar. In turn, a Samsung spokeswoman told the WSJ: “Bixby Voice benefits from time to further enhance natural language understanding and we are currently growing our user testing in the U.S. to prepare for launch.”
Samsung’s Bixby isn’t entirely useless at present. You can still use Bixby Vision for quick image recognition in the camera app. Or you can use Hello Bixby as your daily contextual feed. It’s highly customizable, and if you prefer to have more immediate hooks into the apps you have installed, Hello Bixby is pretty good at that.
While Samsung must be annoyed that its Bixby digital assistant is not yet ready for prime time, you have to think they prefer dealing with this issue compared with the problems of exploding phone batteries, which is what happened to its last flagship device, the Galaxy Note 7.
It’s unlikely that the delayed Bixby snafu will affect sales of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. The two handsets are worthy sellers in their own right and it’s highly doubtful that the record-breaking number of preorders were a result of the addition of a proprietary virtual assistant. Perhaps the only bummer of owning a Galaxy S8 at this point, however, is that there’s this extra hardware button that isn’t as useful as you’d hope. Fortunately, you can remap that button if you so please with an app, at least until Bixby’s full arrival.
You can even set it to launch Google Assistant.