Third-party apps are coming to save Samsung’s Bixby from itself
When Samsung announced the Bixby 2.0 assistant at its Unpacked Event last month, it introduced third-party integration from the likes of Yelp, Uber and Ticketmaster.
During the Galaxy Note 9 reveal, the company also confirmed integration with more third-party services would be coming soon, and it appears the cavalry isn’t far away. This week, the company confirmed an API and SDK will arrive, enabling developers to build Bixby functionality into their apps.
DJ Koh, the CEO of Samsung Mobile, told CNBC that the developer tools will launch in November during the firm’s annual Developer Conference.
“Opening the ecosystem in November, then this baby (Bixby) will grow,” Koh says. “So I do not want to see just six months or nine months performance, no. Because this is like a long journey; it’s just starting because with the new Bixby embedded in the Note 9, a new baby was born.”
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The API and SDK combo will give Samsung a better chance of catching up to the dense line-up of third-party integrations offered by Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri.
Right now Bixby is viewed negatively by many Samsung mobile customers, who were unimpressed with the incomplete nature of the first edition and the awkwardness of the dedicated Bixby button on some handsets.
Earlier this week Samsung announced it would be enabling users of the new Galaxy Note 9 to disable or remap the Bixby button as it had with earlier releases.
However, the company is still confident of winning over sceptical users who’re yet to see the value of the revamped assistant.
For starters, Bixby 2.0 is more like Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant in the ability to hold up its end of a conversation. For example, if you ask it for the lowdown on London concerts this weekend, you can follow up with “what about the first weekend in September?” without asking the original question all over again. The firm is also promising faster responses and the ability to predict user’s needs based upon previous behaviour.
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