Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant have a new frenemy. Samsung's Bixby is a personal assistant that comes with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and . Here are eight things we currently know about the mysterious assistant.
It's on the Galaxy S8 only... for now
Bixby is making its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, with more Samsung products anticipated to integrate the assistant in the future. If you own an older Galaxy phone, you'll need to upgrade in order to gain Bixby.
Bixby Voice will be MIA at launch
Little more than a week before the Galaxy S8's launch,will not be available in the US until later this spring, and the UK and other English-speaking countries at some point in the future. It's unfortunate and frustrating, but if it's not ready, it's better for Samsung to delay the feature.
The good news is other Bixby features, such as Home, Reminders and Camera, will be ready at launch.
Opening Bixby is super easy
When it does arrive, you'll have a few different options to open Bixby. On the left side of the Galaxy S8, just below the volume buttons is a dedicated Bixby button.
A quick press of the button to launch Bixby and give a command, or long-press to open Bixby Home. The third method to access Bixby is through the camera app.
You can also summon Bixby using your voice, with the wake word of "Bixby," naturally enough.
There's also Bixby Home
Flipboard's newsfeed is gone, replaced by Bixby Home on the Galaxy S8. With a swipe to the right from the home screen, a stream of information ranging from smart reminders for tasks you commonly carry out on your phone, to news and weather are displayed. Third-party apps such as Facebook or Uber can also display cards in Bixby Home.
Voice commands mimic touch commands
When using your voice to interact with Bixby, it will accept commands such as, "Set screen brightness to 50 percent" or, "Show photos I took in San Francisco."
Samsung equates Bixby voice commands to touch actions, stating if you can do it with touch, you can do it with Bixby.
There's a 'handful' of apps at launch
When it becomes available, Bixby will only work within Samsung apps and a limited number of them at that. Samsung is only saying a "handful" of apps are supported at launch, but stopped short of providing an exact list or number.
The company has committed to regularly updating Bixby and adding more apps and capabilities over time.
During the S8 launch announcement, Samsung demonstrated taking a screenshot and sending it as an attachment in a text message using Bixby. The company also announced Bixby will work with Google Play Music.
Bixby can control the camera
Using the camera app on the Galaxy S8, Bixby Vision is capable of six things:
- Product search
- Wine search
- Identifying places and landmarks
- Translating text
- Find similar images
- QR code and barcode reading
Just hold up your phone, wait for Bixby to scan an object or landmark, and tap on the proper button at the bottom of the display.
There's a lot it doesn't know
Answering questions about the age of a celebrity isn't something you can ask Bixby quite yet, and Samsung isn't ready to say when it will be possible.
For now, you're going to have to rely on Google Assistant (just long-press the home button) to answer trivia questions or provide random facts.
Update, April 12: This post was originally published on March 29, and has been updated to include information about Bixby's delay in English-speaking countries.