Rolling out today in 200 countries and territories, Bixby Voice is an “intelligent interface” that allows users to control some aspects of their phone’s functionality using natural language voice commands.
Bixby Voice was previously only available in South Korea and the United States, but now Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus users worldwide can use it. However, Bixby still only understands US English and Korean, and Samsung warns that not all accents, dialects and expressions are recognized at this point. That said, users in UK, Canada, Australia, and South Africa should definitely give voice commands a shot.
“Now millions of customers worldwide have access to a new and intelligent way of interacting with their phone,” said Samsung EVP Injong Rhee, referring to Bixby’s ability to execute actions that would normally require multiple taps and swipes. Last week, a flurry of Samsung apps were updated in anticipation of today’s rollout.
If you own a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus and your language is US English or Korean, you can start using Bixby Voice by pressing the dedicated button on the device. We tried to activate the feature on a Galaxy S8 unit in Germany, without success. It looks like this is a stage rollout, or Samsung hasn’t flipped the switch on the rollout just yet.
Since the Galaxy S8 launched this spring, Samsung took a lot of flak over the way it mishandled the release of Bixby Voice.
The Korean company hyped the feature during the launch, but most users got a gimped version without voice support that was pretty much useless. The presence of dedicated button only aggravated users – enough that someone created a special case to hide the button – and Samsung’s decision to disable alternative uses for the hardware button didn’t help much.
The Galaxy Note 8 launching tomorrow will have a Bixby button as well, and it seems like the global rollout of English and Korean voice support is meant to sweeten the pill for the millions of users out there that won’t get Bixby in their languages for months or even years.
As industry insiders recently put it, Big Data is hard, even for behemoths like Samsung.
Let us know if you got Bixby Voice!