Samsung's Bixby will help you shop, unless you have Verizon

A new camera feature on the Galaxy S8 that recognizes products and enables shopping through Amazon was delayed on Verizon phones.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin
2 min read

Verizon customers will just have to wait to shop using Bixby Vision.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S8 launched today, but Verizon customers won't be getting the phone's full experience just yet.

The largest wireless provider in the US confirmed to CNET on Friday that a new Amazon shopping function that's supposed to be built into the phone isn't available. Verizon didn't have a set timeline for when the feature will come but noted that a similar feature is available through the Amazon shopping app.

The Amazon feature was one of the key elements of Samsung's new Bixby Vision image recognition technology. Bixby Vision lets you use the S8 camera to identify landmarks with the help of Pinterest, translate foreign languages thanks to Google, and recognize products and enable shopping on Amazon. However, that Amazon feature isn't turned on for phones on Verizon's network. Some users have already started asking Samsung about the issue.

"Bixby Vision works on all versions of the Galaxy S8, but the Amazon shopping function isn't operational yet," a Verizon spokesperson said in a statement. "We are working with Amazon to provide that experience, but in the meantime you can use the existing Amazon app on your Samsung Galaxy S8 for the same photo and shopping experience."

The issue is another hiccup for Bixby, Samsung's new smart assistant and an important selling point for the S8. A major facet of the assistant, called Bixby Voice, won't be available at launch either. The snag may disappoint Amazon too, since customers searching for products with Bixby Vision can then buy them directly from the e-commerce company.

In a statement, Samsung confirmed that Bixby Vision is available in the S8, so the issue with Verizon phones doesn't appear to be a technical one.

Amazon on Thursday said its Bixby Vision feature marks the first time customers will be able to use its proprietary Amazon technology outside of Amazon's own app. The technology is the same used for Firefly, an image recognition platform for Amazon's failed Fire Phone.

Amazon declined to disclose the terms of its agreement with Samsung for the Bixby Vision feature.