Samsung’s in-house voice assistant, Bixby, may not have a user base to rival other voice assistants Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, but the AI-powered assistant is getting a set of much-needed updates to make Samsung’s best phones even better.
In particular, Samsung’s Bixby update – which will roll out to Samsung Galaxy users in February – brings significant improvements to the software’s ability to recognize language.
English speakers, for example, can now answer calls simply by typing a message, which Bixby then converts into audio that can be passed on to the caller on their behalf. The feature, called Bixby Text Call, can also be customized with AI-generated versions of real user voices, Samsung says.
Bixby Custom Voice Creator allows users to record various sentences that the AI will analyze and convert into custom responses. Samsung press release (opens in a new tab) notes that the feature is “currently available in Korean” and will soon be rolled out to “other Samsung apps besides phone calls”, which is a bit confusing, so we contacted the company to clarify whether it will be available in English at the time premieres.
The latest Bixby update also adds the ability to create a personalized wake-up phrase, though again this appears to be limited to Korean for now.
It’s also worth noting that Bixby Text Call – which Samsung says is available on select models including the Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 – requires One UI 5.1 or later for running telephones in English. It appears Bixby Custom Voice Creator is limited to the Galaxy S23, S23, and S23 Ultra for now.
A much smarter Bixby
In addition to these call-related features, Samsung’s Bixby update also makes the assistant more efficient in dealing with follow-up requests.
As the company notes, “Bixby can better understand intent and process follow-up requests by understanding context and associating words previously used in interactions. For example, Bixby users can start a workout in Samsung Health first, then ask Bixby to turn on the music that best suits that workout by saying “Put music on for this workout.”
Again, however, it looks like this feature is currently limited to Korean, although Samsung notes that “more languages [will] support” in the future.
And finally, Bixby’s offline capabilities have been improved. Users can now ask the voice assistant to perform basic functions – such as setting timers, taking screenshots or turning on the flashlight – even when their phone is not connected to the network. Apple introduced similar functionality to Siri in iOS 15, so we’re glad Samsung has brought its voice assistant into line with the competition.
For more AI-related news, check out our report on an AI-generated image that recently won a photo contest, or read our computer editor’s thoughts on why AI will ruin humanity – just not in the way it does we would expect.