Samsung today unveiled Bixby, a new “intelligent interface” for the company’s devices.
“Technology is supposed to make life easier, but as the capabilities of machines such as smartphones, PCs, home appliances and IoT devices become more diverse, the interfaces on these devices are becoming too complicated for users to take advantage of many of these functions conveniently,” explains Injong Rhee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Software and Services, Samsung Electronics. “This is the fundamental limitation of the current human-to-machine interface.”
Samsung believes that instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world, “it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us.” Bixby, says Samsung, is “fundamentally different” from other voice agents or assistants in the market.
When an application becomes Bixby-enabled, Bixby will be able to support almost every task that the application is capable of performing using the conventional interface (ie. touch commands). The completeness property of Bixby will simplify user education on the capability of the agent, making the behaviors of the agent much more predictable.
Bixby is also context-aware, according to Rhee.
“Bixby will allow users to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application, whichever they feel is most comfortable and intuitive,” he says.
Samsung believes the key to success for a new voice interface is to design “a scheme that reduces friction and makes the experience significantly more rewarding than the existing interface.”
The company says Bixby will ship with the Galaxy S8 later this month; a subset of pre-installed applications will be Bixby-enabled. Eventually Samsung will release a tool to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services Bixby-enabled.
Bixby is launching on a mobile device but Samsung says the digital concierge will one day be applied to appliances.