Samsung unveiled Bixby, its own virtual assistant, designed to make using your next phone easier.
Starting with the Galaxy S8, which is slated to be unveiled March 29, Samsung is positioning Bixby different than Apple's Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa in that it can learn and adapt to the needs of its users.
"[I]nstead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us," Samsung's executive vice president and head of R&D for software and services InJong Rhee wrote on the company's blog. "With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort."
Unlike Siri, Google Assistanr or Alexa, there is a dedicated physical button on the phone. Users will need to press and hold the button, then speak to it to get a response. There will also be a familiar wake-up phrase, "Hi Bixby," as there are with the other virtual assistants.
As Samsung has fallen behind its competitors in the race for voice as the next platform, it has worked quickly to try and catch up.
It bought Viv Labs in late 2016, a voice-recognition start-up that was created by the people who worked on developing Siri.
In the blog post, Rhee said that Bixby would be Samsung's "first step on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone."
At launch, there will be a select group of apps pre-installed on the phone that work with Bixby, but over time, the company will launch a software development kit (SDK) to allow third-party app developers to have Bixby work with their apps.
JP Morgan analyst JJ Park called the upcoming Galaxy S8 event a "near-term catalyst" for Samsung, so any advancements the phone has over its rivals is crucial for Samsung.
Rhee envisions a time where Bixby will come to all Samsung appliances and it's importance is vital to the future of the company, sayng it "is at the heart of our software and services evolution as a company."