Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will come to market in the U.S. next week without the company’s new virtual assistant.
The Wall Street Journal was among the first to report that Samsung confirmed that the English-language version of Bixby won’t be included with its new flagship when it launches in America April 21. Bixby’s voice recognition in English still isn’t ready for prime time, the Journal reported, and the company has yet to commit to a launch date, saying only that it would become available in the U.S. “later this spring.”
Interestingly, Bixby’s performance in Korean apparently is acceptable.
The South Korean electronics giant introduced the Galaxy S8 two weeks ago at a media event in New York. The company’s new flagship features a “near bezel-less design,” Samsung boasted, maximizing the display, and packs dual cameras, a 10-nanometer processor and the company’s Knox security platform.
The phone is also designed to be a vehicle for Bixby, Samsung’s response to AI-powered personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Bixby will eventually be supported by Samsung’s entire line of “appliances,” Senior Vice President InJong Rhee wrote on the company’s blog last month.
Samsung is in need of another hit device to help recapture the high end of the smartphone market following the disastrous Galaxy Note 7. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission officially announced a recall of the Note 7 last year after Samsung received 92 reports of batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage including fires. Samsung produced a second wave of devices, but issued a second recall after a replacement phone caught fire aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.
The company has clearly begun to right the ship, however. It giant claimed 26.1% of smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2017, according to TrendForce estimates released this week, up from 18.5% during the same period a year ago. Apple’s share of the smartphone market fell to 16.9% from 20.3% during the previous year.
And Bixby could be a powerful weapon in the smartphone market. CSG International recently reported that 64% of U.S. millennials cited “a mobile service that acts as a personal assistant that can set meetings, (and) post phone content to social media” as the top driver of additional spending.
In fact, some analysts have pegged AI as the next vital software platform in mobile, replacing operating systems now that Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS have cornered that market. “A decade from now, we might not be talking about Android or iOS, but rather Google Assistant or Siri, or perhaps Alexa, Bixby or Cortana,” CCS Insight said earlier this year. “The current two-horse race is likely to be disrupted by a different type of race, rather than a different type of horse.”