Samsung to include an AI assistant in the Galaxy S8

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Samsung said it will include a digital assistant in its next flagship phone, joining Apple and Google in leveraging artificial intelligence to differentiate its hardware from the competition.

The South Korean electronics vendor told Reuters that the upcoming Galaxy S8 phone will feature a voice-driven offering using a platform developed by Viv Labs, which Samsung acquired last month. Third-party developers will be able to integrate the personal assistant, although Samsung didn’t say what types of services will be offered.

“Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong told Reuters. "Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end users with ease.”

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The Galaxy S8 is expected to launch in the first half of next year and will follow the Galaxy S7, which saw tremendous success in 2016. The S7 helped Samsung achieve its most profitable quarter in two years during the second quarter of 2016, posting $5.2 billion in net profit.

Samsung is in dire need of a new hit phone, though, in the wake of its Note 7 debacle. The company was forced to issue two subsequent recalls over some batteries catching fire and exploding, and last month the company slashed its third quarter profit estimate by $2.3 billion over the situation, and analysts have been on the lookout for the next Android manufacturer that will take Samsung's throne in the U.S.

Smartphone vendors are increasingly viewing artificial intelligence as a key weapon in an ultra-competitive worldwide market. Apple was an early player in the space with Siri, of course, and Google is touting the software it offers in its new Pixel handset.

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