Phones

Samsung Galaxy S8 owners can sign up to finally speak to Bixby

Months after the flagship phone's release, the voice assistant is nearly ready for launch.

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The Samsung Galaxy S8's missing feature is finally coming to owners of the flagship handset... if they sign up.

The Bixby voice assistant, which Samsung also plans to include on its future televisions and refrigerators, is first coming to Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones in the form of an "early preview test." Owners of those two phones can sign up on Samsung's website for a chance to be included in the test starting today, and those selected will get the update in the near future.

Despite not launching the two phones with the voice assistant in April, both include a dedicated Bixby button that provides access to Bixby Home (a dashboard that puts weather, news and events together) and Bixby Vision (which uses the camera to scan and identify things like books or bottles of wine). In the meantime, phone owners can make that button launch something else through the use of third-party apps.

Samsung plans to have Bixby compete against Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant through providing direct integration with Samsung devices, updates to add third-party apps and support for multiple languages.