American owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones will at long last get access to the Bixby assistant, first announced alongside the two phones. The company says that Bixby will be made available in the U.S. in an update happening sometime tonight…
Some have questioned whether it was even worth waiting for given its relatively limited capabilities, with early users unimpressed. We, of course, tried it when the beta became available and found that it worked moderately well, but had limited functionality.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ both access Bixby via a button on the side of the phone dedicated to that specific purpose. Pressing the button accesses Bixby’s cards, while a long press activates a sort of “push-to-talk” way of interacting with the voice assistant. Bixby’s full debut on these phones also gives those dedicated buttons a purpose, as attempts to use the Bixby button for something useful in the before today were repeatedly blocked by Samsung.
Bixby is a first of its kind experience on a Samsung smartphone. Users can now use their voice to do many things they do with touch. Users can ask Bixby to complete simple tasks like turning on the flashlight, taking a screen shot, or taking a selfie. Bixby can complete more complex tasks like creating a photo album of all the pictures a user took last week and calling it “Vacation,” and then sharing those photos with family and friends. Users can have Bixby remember things and remind, such as “remember this is where I parked,” or “remind me to pick up eggs and milk at the grocery store.”
Check out our hands-on for a preview of what to expect later today.