Bixby might not be a household name yet, but this new Samsung AI assistant is one of the coolest perks that comes built into the incredible new Samsung S8. So sit back, relax and let us tell you why Bixby is totally brilliant.
Now, the good news is, anyone running Android 7.0 Nougat on their phone (we’re looking at you, Galaxy S7 users) will ultimately be able to use Bixby, too. Because, trust us, you’re going to want to. Bixby is the PA you’ve always wanted and dreamed about, and now, it can be yours (and you didn’t even have to win the lottery).
We’re not saying Siri, Cortana and Alexa are over – never! – but you do need to know what Samsung have invented here. Allow us to introduce you to the 8 reasons Bixby will be your new favourite smart assistant yet…
1) You can use Bixby to control your phone settings
Screen too bright? Need to switch on the mobile data hotspot? No worries… Bixby is a one-stop-shop for you to personalise your phone, rather than going through the painful process of scouring your Settings folder for the right category to allow you to turn your Wi-Fi off. Bark an order at Bixby and, boom, the job is done. Maybe don’t bark though. I mean, you can still be polite to robots.
2) You’ll never forget to call your mum back
You know when someone calls you, you miss the call, and then life happens and you forget. And the next thing you know, your mum is sobbing down the phone to your brother that she’s worried you’ve run off to South America without saying goodbye because she hasn’t heard from you in ages? Thanks to Bixby, that will never happen: when you miss a call, Bixby will keep reminding you, every hour, that you’ve missed the call. So you physically can’t forget.
And, when you’re ready to call back, you don’t need to scroll through your contacts to do it – just tap the reminder and your call will be connected.
3) You’ll finally be able to sort your life out
We’re all familiar with the phone feature of voice commands, but Bixby comes with other uses and settings too. Bixby Home keeps track of all of your notes, reminders and personal files in one place. Imagine a newsfeed for your app activity. It’s where your Samsung Health steps are counted, and where you’ll have your alarms. It’ll have tailored news and weather content, and a handy list of daily appointments and travel times. Basically, no more excuses for being tardy.
4) Lost and hungry? Bixby can find restaurants for you
The most exciting Bixby feature is probably Bixby Vision, which can recognise images and perform reactive tasks. If you’re wandering around London, for example, you can take a picture of Tower Bridge and Bixby will use it, and your location information, to determine where you are, and provide suggestions for places to go, based on ratings, reviews and recommendations.
5) Bixby can solve your shopping problems
Another nifty feature of Bixby Vision is its ability to do a related image search online and tell you where you can buy something. See a T-shirt you like, or a bottle of wine in a supermarket? Upload to Bixby and it can tell you what brand made the T-shirt (and link you to where you can buy it) or give you food pairing options to serve with the vino. Super smart, and easier than ever thanks to the crisp images coming from the Samsung Galaxy S8’s super camera.
6) You can truly be yourself
Bixby is designed to react to natural language, so you don’t have to be forced and formal, using stilted phrases to help it understand what you want. Basically, you could say:
“Bixby my main man, how on earth do I get to Ascot?”
“BIXBY PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO GET TO ASCOT, I’M LOST.”
“Yo Bixby, my dawg, hit me up with directions to Ascot, yo.”
“OK Bixby, I swear if you don’t get me to Ascot within 28 minutes I’m going to test the limits of your IP68 capabilities.”
And theoretically it should be able to understand you.
7) You don’t have to do the leg work
Samsung have said that Bixby should be able to do anything that an app does, without relying on touch. Ordering a cab, ordering food, calling people, texting them, sending them pictures. Whatever you need. Samsung wanted to take away the manual aspect, and increase Bixby’s usefulness. So it’s pretty autonomous, and won’t just feed you back instructions that:
a) You already knew.
b) You wanted to avoid carrying out, hence the voice command.
8) Bixby is contextually aware
This may be the most boring-sounding feature of our favourite new Bixby digital butler, but arguably it’s the most exciting. Bixby knows what’s going on. It understands if you’re in the middle of a process, and will adjust information accordingly. Bixby understands the time of day, the concept of work hours and weekends. It can tell if you’re driving, or in another country and will be able to surmise things from that to feed you information that you didn’t even know you wanted. Sounds like a small step towards the future of smart assistants…
Main image via: Getty