Samsung Working on Bixby-Powered Smart Speaker but Bixby’s Slow Development Causing Delays

Screenshots from Galaxy S8

Leading up to the Galaxy S8 launch, there was a lot of hype surrounding Samsung’s voice assistant: Bixby. Powered by the technology acquired by the Korean company from the acquisition of Viv Labs, Bixby’s natural language processing capabilities were supposed to give it an edge over the competition. However, the rollout of Bixby has been far from smooth, with Samsung only getting around to rolling out an early preview of Bixby’s voice recognition system last month.

Korea Herald report now details that Samsung is struggling with English recognition in Bixby as it does not have enough big data for machine learning to work effectively. Additionally, the poor communication between Samsung’s engineers in the US and those in South Korea is not effective due to language and geographical barriers.

“Developing Bixby in other languages is taking more time than we expected mainly because of the lack of the accumulation of big data,” a Samsung spokesperson told The Korea Herald.

Due to this, the progress on the Korean version of Bixby is far ahead of the US version.

Despite Bixby being far from ready, Samsung is developing a Bixby-powered speaker. The release timeframe and the final specs of the speaker are not yet confirmed, but the speaker — codenamed Vega internally — is being affected due to the slow development of Bixby.

While Samsung went ahead and launched the Galaxy S8 with a half-baked version of Bixby, it cannot do the same thing with a smart speaker. If the Bixby-powered smart speaker does not work as advertised at launch, the move will backfire and paint a negative picture of Samsung’s assistant in the mind of consumers.

[Via Wall Street Journal, Korea Herald]