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Bixby voice support is rolling out to US Samsung Galaxy S8 users today

Bixby voice support is rolling out to US Samsung Galaxy S8 users today


Ready or not...

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Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus rear view
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

It seems that Samsung believes Bixby voice is ready for primetime. The company just announced that the voice capabilities of its digital assistant are now rolling out to US Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners. Bixby's voice capabilities have been available in the US as part of an opt-in beta test, and Samsung says that feedback has led to faster response times, improved comprehension of varied phrasing around the same question, better hands-free operation, and more. Over 100,000 users of the flagship devices have enrolled in the early access program and issued over 4 million voice commands. Also, Samsung says Bixby can now read aloud your latest SMS messages and emails — if you use its stock apps on the Galaxy S8.

Bixby can be activated with a push of the dedicated Bixby button located on the side of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, or by saying “hi Bixby.” Like Siri and Google Assistant, Bixby can handle alarms, send texts, and so on, but its real power lies in the ability to access granular phone settings or — in supported apps — automatically move through several menu screens to perform commands that Google Assistant simply can't do. Samsung says that deep learning should allow Bixby to improve over time as it begins to recognize users’ preferences and ways of speaking.

The results of our first look at Bixby's voice features were very mixed and pretty rough, but that was on the very first day of the beta period. Has Samsung made noticeable improvements and advancements? Is the Bixby button now justified? Soon all Galaxy S8 users will be able to form their own conclusion.