Bixby: Innovative or just another copy?

Samsung Bixby B

If you saw my recent post about my first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S8, you would also have seen that I was pretty excited about Samsung’s new virtual assistant, Bixby. However, after having some time to actually think about this, the excitement has definitely worn off.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S8 Announcement: First Impressions

If you look back, Samsung has made some great phones, but for me one of the main problems with a Samsung phone has always been that they try to make their own versions of the stock Google apps which come with all Android phones. This wouldn’t be a problem if they added superior functionality to the apps, however I have always thought that Google apps have suited the needs they fill fine so there wasn’t any need for Samsung to make their own version. Having their own versions of these apps would make much more sense if they had their own operating system and did not use Android. Now they have made Bixby (Samsung’s version of the Google Assistant). As a quick summary for those who don’t know, Bixby is Samsung’s new virtual assistant that so far looks like it does everything that the Google Assistant does, plus a little bit more. However, it would not surprise me if Google added these new features to the Google Assistant soon.

Read: Google Pixel Review

Samsung have marketed Bixby as a very new thing and seemed keen to show off the feature of swiping to the right to get to the “contextual page” which has a series of cards that relate to your interests and your apps… sounds very similar to Google Now cards.

One feature that Bixby has which seems unique to Bixby is being able to point your camera at something, for example a bike, and if you are using Bixby vision you will get a list of options, for example options for buying the bike. What comes up in Bixby’s suggestions depends on what you point the camera at. As an example, if you point at a restaurant, reviews could come up.

I understand that this is Samsung trying to make their phones stand out from the crowd, however I think most people would agree that the hardware alone makes Samsung’s phones unique. Therefore, there is no need for them to design software features that have already been done and are already available on their phones. In my opinion, one of the best software features Samsung have made was adding the edge functionality to their phones, as this took advantage of the innovative hardware that they used.

What are your thoughts on Bixby and the other software that Samsung uses with their phones? Let me know in the comments.

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