Samsung claims its AI-based virtual assistant is smart enough to execute 15,000 tasks, use augmented reality to shop for you, and learn from your app usage. Yet, apparently it’s not capable of learning English.
The launch date for Bixby has been pushed back yet again. The virtual assistant is struggling to understand English, according to the Korea Herald. The report says Samsung has yet to fully release its software because it’s lacking data to help develop Bixby’s deep learning technology.
“Developing Bixby in other languages is taking more time than we expected mainly because of the lack of accumulation of big data,” a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement to the Korea Herald.
Samsung has been hyping the power of Bixby since it was first formally announced in conjunction with the company’s Galaxy S8 phone in the spring. No one has been able to fully prove it’s better than Siri, Cortana, or Google Assistant for the simple reason that almost no one has been able to use the technology to the fullest.
Obviously, the delay is a setback for the company. The otherwise very well-reviewed Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a button specifically designated for Bixby, which is basically pointless at this juncture. The company already missed its first launch date for the English language product, which was supposed to hit in the spring.
Why did Samsung decide to announce an unfinished product, and subsequently over-promise on when it could be delivered? A cynic might suggest the company was trying to distract from the lasting legacy of the exploding Galaxy Note 7. Incidentally, the company just announced that it would be selling refurbished versions of that ill-fated device. It’s named, this is not a joke, the Galaxy Note Fan Edition—you know for fans of fire and mayhem. This device will work with Bixby because it’s only available in South Korea where Bixby has been operational for months.
Even though Bixby is still a flawed product, Samsung reportedly has big plans to port the AI to other devices. Samsung is allegedly working on a smart speaker, similar to Amazon’s Echo, that is powered by Bixby, according to the Wall Street Journal. Samsung is also adding Bixby to the Family Hub refrigerator.
Samsung has yet to announce an official date for Bixby’s wide release in the United States, but the WSJ claims it’ll be by the end of the month. We reached out to Samsung for comment, and we’ll update if we hear back.