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Bixby finally arrives in the US

Bixby's voice capabilities are expanding beyond South Korea.

After a series of delays, the voice-based features of Samsung’s assistant Bixby are finally available in the US.

Bixby enables users to navigate apps, services and settings with a combination of voice commands and touch. To enable Bixby’s voice-based capabilities, US customers can now press the Bixby button to begin onboarding. Once the software is updated, they can activate Bixby by holding the button on Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones or by saying, “Hi, Bixby.”

Samsung continues to tout Bixby as a smarter assistant, saying it is designed to assist users in completing tasks no matter how they describe them. That’s because Bixby will work with users to understand and find the answer or get the task done, Samsung said. Bixby also learns about said user and his or her routine. And, using deep learning, Bixby will improve over time to recognize the different preferences and ways of speaking of a user.

That means Bixby can complete simple tasks like turning on the flashlight, taking a screen shot or taking a selfie. But Bixby can also complete multi-app, complex requests like creating a photo album of all the images a user took in a given timeframe and calling it “Vacation,” and then sharing those photos with family and friends. Users can also have Bixby remember things and ask for reminders, such as “remember this is where I parked,” or “remind me to pick up eggs and milk at the grocery store.”

And if Bixby doesn’t understand a step, it will complete as much of the task as possible, Samsung said.

“There are over 10,000 functions on our smartphones, but each day, people may use less than five percent of them. The features on your phone are only useful if you know how to find them,” said Injong Rhee, executive vice president and head of R&D and software and services of the mobile communications business at Samsung, in a statement. “Our goal with Bixby is to make it easier to use our phones, creating the best possible user experience for our customers. That’s why we created Bixby – an intuitive new way to do more things with your phone.”

Bixby launched in South Korea in May. Samsung said Bixby will be “fully integrated across several core Samsung apps at [US] launch,” with plans to expand to additional languages, features, third party apps and devices.

In addition, Samsung is encouraging use by rewarding customers with experience points (XPs) as they use Bixby. Through September 14, users can convert XPs into Samsung Rewards points that can be accumulated “to try to win prizes such as Samsung products, gift cards, trips and more."

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