The race for the ultimate voice assistant is heating up with Samsung announcing Bixby's generative AI boost (2024)

The race for the ultimate voice assistant is heating up with Samsung announcing Bixby's generative AI boost (1)

Bixby’s never really been my smart home voice assistant of choice, and I’d wager that’s the same for most smart home enthusiasts.Much like Apple’s Siri, Bixby is more of a nice-to-have for those already in the wider Samsung ecosystem, lagging behind in terms of features and functionality when compared to the likes of Google Assistant and Alexa.

That could all be about to change, however. During this week's series of global launch events, Samsung announced that Bixby is about to get a whole lot smarter, thanks to Generative AI.

What will a boosted Bixby look like?

We don’t know much at this stage, with only a brief Bixby segment during Samsung’s presentation, but it was enough to spark my interest.In addition to engaging in natural conversations, the next-generation Bixby will be able to use Generative AI to understand multi-layered commands and retain contextual information to help your smart home run smoother.

To demonstrate, Samsung explained that users will be able to ask Bixby to “turn on the AC to Wind-Free mode, and let me know how the weather is”, which would generally require two separate requests on most voice assistants.

Additionally, users will be able to ask Bixby to “turn off the air purifier”, pause, and then follow up with “oh, and the TV, too,” with the voice assistant recalling the first request and applying the context to the latter to turn off the TV.

Is this enough to save Bixby?

Since Bixby launched seven years ago, it’s not had an easy run. It has struggled to differentiate itself from Google Assistant, which is built into all Android phones including the best Samsung phones, and as we’ve seen from the slow death of Siri, closed-ecosystem assistants face an uphill battle in today’s world of connected devices, even with the rise of Matter.

As such, this news comes as something of a surprise. Amazon’s Alexa is thus far the only major voice assistant to confirm impending Generative AI capabilities, while Google seems to be more focused on the mobile experience for Google Assistant’s upcoming Generative capabilities. In fact, the only significant intelligence boost Google Assistant has seen is the new smart home script editor.

While I’m not expecting Apple to announce anything major until WWDC, with rumors swirling about Siri’s new AI potentially even surpassing ChatGPT, it does surprise me to see Samsung beat both Apple and Google to the punch and announce Bixby’s boost so soon.

Given how many of Samsung's large appliances are smart home-compatible and come with Bixby built in, this is significant not only in the battle for who can create the smartest voice assistant, but also a decisive move from the Korean conglomerate to stake its claim on smart home technology specifically.

None of Samsung's major competitors are known for manufacturing appliances, let alone smart ones. Samsung, in contrast, is embracing this opportunity in a big way – but they’re pricey products that will take a while to hit the mass market.

Only time will tell which voice assistant will rise to the top. And while I’m not quite ready to put my money on the underdog Bixby, it’s far too soon to discount Samsung’s AI endeavors.

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The race for the ultimate voice assistant is heating up with Samsung announcing Bixby's generative AI boost (2)

Josephine Watson

Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.

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The race for the ultimate voice assistant is heating up with Samsung announcing Bixby's generative AI boost (2024)


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